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SCE&G customers set new winter record for electricity, natural gas use

COLUMBIA, S.C., Jan. 3, 2001 (PRNewswire) — Near record cold temperatures in South Carolina pushed usage of electricity and natural gas by customers of South Carolina Electric & Gas Co. (SCE&G), the principal subsidiary of SCANA Corp. (NYSE: SCG), to new winter peaks today.

A new winter peak demand record of 4,076 megawatts of electricity over a one-hour period was set by SCE&G customers at 8 a.m. today. This is the second winter peak established by SCE&G customers this winter. The previous winter peak record of 3,900 megawatts was established at 8 a.m. on Dec. 20, 2000. A new 24-hour winter energy use record of 81,133-megawatt hours was also established on Dec. 20, 2000. December 2000 was the coldest December on record in Columbia since 1917.

SCE&G’s all-time one-hour system peak record of 4,211 megawatts of electricity was set on July 21, 2000. The 24-hour demand record was also established on that date last summer at 84,006 megawatts.

In addition to record electricity usage, customers of SCE&G and South Carolina Pipeline Corp., also a SCANA subsidiary, were using record amounts of natural gas.

The instantaneous day-rate use of natural gas going into the Columbia, SC city gate reached a record 90 million cubic feet of gas today while natural gas going into the Charleston, SC city gate reached a record 78 million cubic feet per day. Normal winter instantaneous use into Columbia averages about 60 million cubic feet and Charleston normally averages about 50 million cubic feet during the winter.

While SCE&G and South Carolina Pipeline are meeting the demand for all of their firm residential, commercial and industrial customers, the companies have had to curtail gas supplies to about 250 “interruptible” industrial customers. Interruptible industrial customers pay reduced prices for large volume use of natural gas and periodically experience supply curtailments during peak usage. Many of these industrial customers have the capability to switch to alternate boiler and process fuels such as propane and heating oil.

SCE&G and South Carolina Pipeline receive natural gas from two interstate pipelines in South Carolina. Record cold weather over the past several weeks throughout the Midwest and East Coast has significantly increased demand for natural gas, which is constraining supply on the interstate pipelines. Moderating temperatures predicted near the end of the week are expected to reduce natural gas demand enough to allow SCE&G and South Carolina Pipeline to open supply to all of their interruptible customers.

“The near record cold temperatures in December and early January have significantly increased demand for both electricity and natural gas by our customers,” said SCE&G President Neville Lorick. “While we are being tested to meet this record demand, we are encouraging our customers to exercise conservation measures to blunt the impact of expected higher energy bills.”

For more information on energy conservation measures, customers are urged to go to the company’s website at www.scana.com.

SCE&G provides electricity to more than 533,000 customers and natural gas to approximately 263,000 customers throughout central and southern South Carolina. South Carolina Pipeline Corp. is engaged in the purchase, transmission and sale of natural gas on a wholesale basis to distribution companies and directly to industrial customers through a 1,900-mile pipeline system in 40 counties throughout South Carolina.

SOURCE: SCANA Corporation