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South Carolina utilities have joined with the South Carolina Department of Consumer Affairs (SCDCA) and the Office of Regulatory Staff (ORS) for Utility Scam Awareness Week (November 15-19, 2021) to warn consumers about utility imposter scams as consumers turn on their heat for the winter.
Utility imposter scams can happen in-person or over the phone and come in a lot of shapes and sizes. Consumers have reported seeing scammers dressed like a representative of a utility company, going door-to-door and demanding payment in prepaid cards or else power would be shut off. The scammer may call and claim the consumer needs a new meter or they are late on their payments. Whatever form the scam takes, the red flags are the same.
The top red flags of a utility imposter scam are:
- Asking for payment in prepaid debit, gift card, money transfer, payment app, or cryptocurrency. No real utility company will ever ask a consumer to pay with anything other than direct forms of payment like a bank account or credit card. If someone claiming to be a utility says you must pay in an uncommon form of payment, it’s a scam. Every time. No matter what they say.
- Use scare tactics or threaten you into paying ASAP. Often a scammer will warn the consumer they are late with a payment and if they don’t pay immediately, their services will be shut off. Utilities are required to provide consumers with at least 10 days’ written notice before their service is shut off and a second notice a few days prior.
- Cold-call and ask for you to verify personal information. A cold call is when you receive an unsolicited visit or telephone call made by someone trying to obtain payment or information for a service. If you receive a cold call from anyone asking to verify private info like your account numbers/balances, Social Security number, date of birth, etc, hang up and directly call your utility company.
Consumers should also be wary of their caller IDs as scammers will “spoof” the number they are calling from, which causes the customer’s phone to display a false caller ID. Often, the scammer will “spoof” a local number, perhaps even using the utility’s standard customer service number.
If you have any doubt about the legitimacy of a caller, hang up immediately and call your utility’s customer service center.
- York Electric Cooperative: (803) 684-4248
- Other South Carolina Electric Cooperatives: Visit www.ecsc.org/co-op/info to find the direct number of your co-op.
- Dominion Energy South Carolina: (800) 251-7234
- Duke Energy Carolinas: (800) 777-9898
- Duke Energy Progress: (800) 452-2777
- Santee Cooper: (800) 804-7424
If you suspect or experience a scam, notify your local law enforcement agency. To report a scam or for more information on defending against scams call our Identity Theft Unit at 1 (844) TELL DCA (835-5322) or visit consumer.sc.gov and click the Identity Theft Unit tab.
The South Carolina Department of Consumer Affairs aims to protect consumers from inequities in the marketplace through advocacy, complaint mediation, enforcement, and education. To file a complaint or get information on consumer issues, visit www.consumer.sc.gov or call toll-free in SC: 1 (800) 922-1594.
We’ve mentioned throughout 2021 that this year marks our 80th year of serving our members. There are still several members of our community who remember when YEC cut the lights on for the first time for their families many years ago. Just as we were determined to improve the quality of life for the communities we served in 1941, we are still the same steadfast co-op you can rely on and trust. We pride ourselves on providing reliable, safe and affordable electricity through innovation, excellent service and accountability.
But how do we do it? Simple. Our team of employees. From the first days of the co-op through today, we hired locals to take care of our members. You went to high school with our employees, your kids know their kids, you worship with them and you know their families. It is with determination and dedication that our employees work, plan, create, communicate, build and keep the power on for you to create a brighter energy future. After all, no one knows you like family and that’s how we see you here at YEC. We’re one of you.
We’ve come a long way with new technology. We’re focused on empowering you to understand and save energy to help hold down power costs, creating new programs to meet the growing demands of environmental and social responsibility to decrease emissions and we’re looking ahead, preparing as more electric cars and solar come to our area.
We always try to do the right things for the right reasons. Many times, we look out for you by making plans to take YEC into the future. Equally, it is nice to look back over 80 years of service, maintaining our focus on what matters most—our members.
Although it is interesting how the demand for electricity has increased and changed, we think it is amazing that our purpose to always look out for you has never altered.
President and Chief Executive Officer
Before and after: YEC through the years
High school seniors, apply now for valuable scholarships! As your Touchstone Energy Cooperative, York Electric firmly believes our educational efforts can have a far-reaching effect not only for the individuals we help but for the community at large. We believe educational outreach is one of the most important things we can offer.
Touchstone Energy Scholarship
Each year, YEC awards 12 $1,000 Touchstone Energy Scholarships to graduating seniors at each area high school.
- To apply, you must be a high school senior and a member of YEC.
- With your application, submit an essay on how businesses can better connect with younger generations. Whether it’s through an online platform or by giving back, we want to hear your ideas.
Technical Advantage Scholarship
YEC awards one $1,000 Technical Advantage Scholarship to a graduating senior attending York Technical College in the fall, and one $500 Work-Based Learning Scholarship to a senior participant at the Floyd D. Johnson Technology Center.
- To apply, you must be a graduating high school senior planning to attend a technical college to study a trade.
- With your application, submit an essay on Ready SC: The Importance of a Ready Workforce. Write about the Ready SC Initiative and describe the importance of a ready workforce.
Deadline to apply: Friday, March 19, 2022
In October, York Electric Cooperative awarded Bright Ideas grants to local teachers in the co-op’s service territory. The Bright Ideas grant program was created to provide funding for innovative classroom-based educational projects. The grants awarded are intended to fund the projects outside of normal public school funding parameters and can be made available to all disciplines in grades K-12.
YEC is proud to recognize these outstanding teachers. Learn what inspires them!
Clover School District
Dr. Kelly Clark at Clover High School with her project Spread the Word!
“My students inspire me to teach. There is no other place you can work where you can get such insight into and hope for our future. It is amazing to be able to learn from them on a daily basis.”
Linda Nisbett at Kinard Elementary School with her project Innovative Instruction with Apple Pens
“I am inspired to work in education by the thrill and excitement that we as educators see when students learn a new concept and make connections to their own life.”
Sherer Hopkins at Clover High-Ninth Grade Campus and her teammates Atavious Johnson and Jill Sifford, with their Mindfulness Room project
“We are continuously inspired by the resilience of our students. We take pride in the fact that we are able to help them through this often turbulent, transitional year made even more stressful lately by COVID-19 worries and restrictions.”
York School District
Dr. Anne R. Witte at York Middle with her project Lego Masters: Lunch Edition
“I read a quote by Johnathan Kozol that said when teaching is done right it is part ministry and part poetry. To me that succinctly describes the beauty of education; it is, at its core, inspiration. Being able to be part of a child’s learning journey is like watching the best parts of life unfold in front of your eyes.”
Britni Stevenson at Harold C. Johnson Elementary with her project News Crew Equipment
“I’m inspired to teach by being a constant positive and safe adult in my students’ lives.”
Ashleigh Erb at York Intermediate School with her project Locked on Learning
“My why is simple… if not me then who? My students’ needs can be complex and to many may seem daunting, but those AHA moments when they ‘get it’ for the first time make it all worthwhile.”
Rock Hill School District
Stacey Walden at Ebinport Elementary School with her project Legos for Artistic Processes
“I am inspired by the connections, development, and expression of my student artists every day. Seeing them relate to artists, grow in their technique and abilities, and find ways to share their feelings or ideas through our projects fills me with joy.”
Jennifer Bush at Rawlinson Road Middle School with her project Integrating the Arts in ELA
“Sharing my passion for teaching and love for learning is what inspires me to teach.”
Stephanie Peavy at Sullivan Middle School and her teammates, Ceci Fieldstone and Monica Jones, with their project Promoting Positive Behavior and Literacy with Inclusive Books
“Since I was a young girl, I always knew that I wanted to be a teacher. It brings me so much joy to build relationships with my students and guide them to find their passion.”
Lynn Johnson at Sunset Park Elementary School and her teammates, Misty Lindgren, Elora Lissandrello, Jamia Gadsden and Tilanesha Manderville, with their project, Escape the Classroom with Breakout Thinking
“I must say that it is my love for children that drives my efforts to build relationships and help students grow in areas of academics and social-emotional learning.”
Lancaster School District
Patricia McFadden at Erwin Elementary with her project Puppeteers Promoting Literacy and Character
“The children themselves inspire me to teach. I love being around them and seeing their faces light up when they learn something new or when they can relate to what we discuss in class.”
Helen Prince at Indian Land High School and her teammates, Rebecca Brunson, Michael LeRoy and Cathy Chapman, with their project Some ‘Button’ to Watch Over Me
“Being in the library offers me a chance to work with every subject, grade, and student. Helping students find information about their passion and setting up an environment that students feel safe to be themselves in inspires me to teach.”
Fort Mill School District
Giovanna Piazza at Riverview Elementary with her project Leveling the Playing Field
“I am reminded daily that although I am officially the teacher in the classroom, often enough it is my students who are the experts, and we are constantly learning from each other. It is these conversations and exchange of ideas with my students that inspire me to teach.”
Elizabeth Parra at Catawba Ridge High School with her project Cooking in College 101
“Watching my students light up when their recipe comes to life in our kitchens inspires me to teach. They have such a sense of pride about each of their creations and it brings joy to my heart knowing that they have a space to work and have fun.”
Photos by Erin Powell
York Electric Cooperative is committed to looking out for our members. We are pleased to offer the SC Housing Authority’s SC Stay Plus Program to members in need. This is a rent and utility assistance program for South Carolina renters impacted by COVID-19. Applications are now accepted. Eligible applicants may receive up to 12 months of assistance with back rent and/or utility payments dating back to March 13, 2020.
Renters and landlords should click here to visit the SC Stay Plus website or call the call center at (803) 336-3420 for more information. We are anticipating high demand for these funds due to the urgent needs of residents. Completing an application as soon as possible may speed up the processing time.
To qualify, renters must have experienced one of the following life events since March 13, 2020:
- Qualified for unemployment or have experienced a reduction in household income, incurred significant costs, or have experienced a financial hardship due to COVID-19;
- Demonstrates risk of experiencing homelessness or housing instability, or;
- Has a household income at or below 80% of Area Median Income
Additionally, applicants will need to provide the following documentation to complete their application:
- Pictures or scans of a photo identification
- A copy of some sort of rental agreement or proof of rent payments
- A 2020 Federal Tax Return
- Proof of financial hardship (e.g., unemployment benefits, unemployment letter, business closure, etc.)
- Proof of risk of housing loss or experiencing homelessness (e.g., eviction notice or past-due utilities)
If an applicant does not have any of the documents available, they should not hesitate to apply to the program. The SC Stay Plus call center is ready to assist where possible.
Please note: residents in 39 counties are eligible for the SC Stay Plus program. The following seven counties are providing their own rental assistance programs: Anderson, Berkeley, Charleston, Greenville, Horry, Richland, and Spartanburg – see more information on these resources here.
Keep in mind, if you have previously applied for assistance through SC Stay in February 2021, they cannot request support from both programs for the same period of back rent. However, they can request assistance for different months.
If you have questions about the SC Stay Plus program or know someone who needs assistance with the application, please call the call center directly at (803) 336-3640 or toll-free (800) 476-0412.
How much financial support can I get?
The SC Stay Plus program is designed to provide up to 12 months of unpaid back rent AND utilities for renters financially impacted by COVID-19. Some applicants may also qualify for up to 3 months of future rent assistance to maintain housing stability.
How long will it take for me to receive program funds?
After your application has been reviewed and approved, you can expect payment within 30 days. The review process can take up to 30 days. We encourage you to ensure that your application is complete at submission to get an approval decision as quickly as possible.
Does my landlord need to be involved?
Landlord participation is strongly encouraged. Please complete/submit your application and email us for additional assistance. Landlord participation will help you receive funding faster.
What options are available to me if my landlord refuses to participate?
Reasonable efforts will be made to encourage participation; however, if your landlord continues to refuse, please contact the SC Stay Plus call center for further assistance.
Can landlords refer tenant(s) who need help?
Yes. Landlords can complete the Landlord Referral Form on the applicant portal. However, the tenant will need to submit an application in order to be considered for funding.
Who do the SC Stay Plus funds go to?
The program pays back rent directly to your landlord.
Where can I see if my income qualifies for the SC Stay Plus program?
The program is designed for people whose household income is at or below 80% Area Median Income (AMI). Priority will be given to households with an income at or below 50% AMI. Click here to see AMI by county.
Are foreign passports an acceptable form of identification?
Yes, foreign passports are acceptable.
What if my ID has expired?
Identification forms that have expired after March 13, 2020, are still acceptable.
I recently got denied, and I’m not sure why. What are my options?
I did not have all the required documents at the time of completing my application. Can I come back and upload them?
Yes. Applicants are given an opportunity to upload their documents after they complete the application form. However, adding these documents as quickly as possible is critical to expediting the review process.
The Electric Cooperative Ride Across South Carolina is a seven-day, 648-mile ride with stops at 18 cooperatives. Starting on October 25th, 2021, in the Upstate and ending in the Low Country on November 2nd, 20 cyclists will make their way through the state building awareness for heart disease and offering heart screenings to more than 2,000 electric cooperative employees.
The ride was established in memory of Brian Kelley, former President of Pee Dee Electric Cooperative, after his untimely death from undetected heart disease. A CrossFit athlete and avid golfer, Kelley died from a heart attack in 2017. The ride, also dedicated to all cooperative employees who have been impacted by heart disease or stroke, aims to build awareness for heart disease and provide preventative education for cooperative employees.
Heart disease is the number one killer in the U.S. with more than 800,000 people dying annually. According to the American Heart Association, S.C. has the 14th highest death rate from cardiovascular disease in the country. Many of those deaths could have been prevented through early detection and education. For more information on heart disease and prevention, visit www.heart.org.
The Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) and Clemson University’s Rural Health Initiative will bring the statewide program, Healthy Me – Healthy SC, to each cooperative along the cycle route. The Healthy Me – Healthy SC initiative will provide heart screenings and education for all electric cooperative employees. Employees will also receive access to a blood pressure screening, and Body Composition Screening with an individualized nutrition plan.
The American Heart Association, also a statewide partner, will also be onsite providing heart and stroke education.
Jeff Lewis, CEO of Little River Electric Cooperative, stated, “We are proud to support and participate in the Ride Across South Carolina. Our employees are front-line workers critical to keep our system up and running, it is important that they are heart healthy. It is also an opportunity to set an example for the members we serve.”
The Electric Cooperative Ride Across South Carolina’s major sponsors are AFL, First Advantage Bank and CBRE, and a large number of other corporate partners are providing financial support for the event. All remaining funds will be donated to the American Heart Association and Clemson’s Rural Health Initiative.
2021 Electric Cooperative Ride Across S.C. route:
- Day 1 – October 25 (94 miles): Blue Ridge (Pickens), Laurens/New Horizon (Laurens), Little River (Abbeville)
- Day 2 – October 26 (101 miles): Broad River (Gaffney), York (York), Lynches River (Pageland)
- Day 3 – October 27 (71 miles): Fairfield (Blythewood), Newberry (Newberry), Mid-Carolina (Lexington)
- Day 4 – October 28 (84 miles): Berkeley (Moncks Corner), Santee (Kingstree), Sumter
- Day 5 – October 29 (85 miles): Black River (Sumter), Horry (Conway)
- Day 6 – November 1 (116 miles): Central (Columbia), Tri-County (St. Mathews), Coastal (Walterboro)
- Day 7 – November 2 (97 miles): Edisto (Bamberg), Palmetto (Ridgeland)
At York Electric, we like to think of ourselves as a family—the cooperative family. Like any family, we depend on and look out for one another and are always trying to do what’s best for our members.
In the York Electric family, we’re doing everything we can to deliver safe, affordable power to all the homes and businesses we serve. We’re local, so if something goes wrong, like an outage, it’s likely someone from your community is working to get your power back on.
Cooperatives have extended families, too. One of the Seven Cooperative Principles is Cooperation Among Cooperatives. Our members benefit from partnerships with organizations that provide special services. These relationships not only help us get things done, but save you money, as well.
The alliance that perhaps most directly affects rates is with our wholesale supplier and transmission cooperative, Central Electric Power. Central does not generate the power you use. Instead, they use the leverage that comes from representing all 20 South Carolina distribution cooperatives to negotiate purchase agreements from other power-generating sources. They also provide services that help keep power costs affordable and service reliable.
York Electric also partners with Broad River Electric, Laurens Electric, Little River Electric and Blue Ridge Electric to form New Horizon Electric Cooperative. New Horizon provides substation design, construction, maintenance and testing for the five upstate distribution cooperatives. We call on New Horizon when we’re building a new substation. In this issue of South Carolina Living, we’ll also share details about how this partnership supports our members.
Cooperative Electric Energy Utility Supply (CEEUS) provides materials and equipment—like poles, wires and lineworkers’ rubber gloves—to the state’s cooperatives. Cooperatives and our members benefit from having one central buyer for all electrical supplies. Since CEEUS is based in Columbia, we can get supplies quickly when storms occur.
The SC Power Team is an economic development organization that represents the state’s electric cooperatives. The Power Team helps bring new industries to cooperative territories and supports the expansion and retention of existing business and facilities. They have helped improve your quality of life by aiding YEC in securing industry and making good jobs available for those in our area.
The Electric Cooperatives of South Carolina (ECSC) provides a wealth of services ranging from training to communications and government relations. ECSC is the organization that publishes South Carolina Living, speaks for our members at the statehouse and ensures safety practices are up to standard.
Thanks to these cooperative alliances, and others such as the National Rural Electric Cooperatives Association (NRECA) and Touchstone Energy Cooperatives, York Electric is able to provide innovative, premium services to its members. It also allows us to share the costs of those services with other distribution cooperatives like us.
This October, as we celebrate Cooperative Month, I’m thankful that we can claim these organizations a part of our family.
President and Chief Executive Officer
Look for your member appreciation discount in November 2021
October is co-op month and we’re celebrating our most important asset—you!
This year has been a good year. Not only did we slightly lower electric rates for members in 2021, but we are also giving you extra money back. What better way to show our appreciation to members than to give you a discount on your power bill! In celebration of co-op month in October, we will provide a 10% discount to members for the electricity they used during this time.
Look for your 10% discount on your November power bill statement. Your total discount will appear as a line item on your bill.
Thank you for being a valued member of YEC.
York Electric Cooperative has partnered with Comporium to bring high-speed fiber internet to approximately 5,000 members in western York and parts of Cherokee counties.
For more information on when this service will be brought to your area, please visit us at yorkelectric.net/fiber.
Audrey Fisk was the first member to get connected to high-speed internet. Fisk says, “My experience has been great so far. I couldn’t believe the difference in internet speed this service provides.”
Gregory Moyer was the third member to sign up for service. “We’ve had a good experience with Comporium so far,” Moyer says. “They have been helpful and quick to respond to any questions or problems we have had. My wife and I work from home about half the time, so having high-speed internet has been a big help.”
Interested in electric vehicles? YEC wants to hear from you!
Many consider the future to be electric, and that includes cars! Market share for electric vehicles (EVs) per total vehicle count is still low, but on the rise.
- EVs account for 2% of vehicles in the United States.
- EVs account for 0.2% of vehicles in South Carolina.
- YEC has 371 EVs registered in our service territory.
As EV interest and purchases increase, we need your help to prepare for the future. Help your co-op serve you best by providing valuable feedback. Your voice matters and will help us create the best plan and rate structure to accommodate this new technology.
Scan the code at right with your smartphone or visit yorkelectric.net/EVsurvey to complete the survey!
As solar energy becomes more prevalent in our area, your cooperative is here to help as your trusted energy advisor.
Are you interested in installing panels on your home? Let York Electric Cooperative be your source of information. We will help evaluate the solar company’s offer, provide a cost analysis for you and guide you through the entire process.
Live Smart. Save More.
Take advantage of our Smart Thermostat Program to easily save on heating and cooling costs.
Interested in installing panels on your home? Let YEC be your source of information.
Beat the Peak
The Beat the Peak program is a free and voluntary effort to help control energy costs for all cooperative members.