SCE&G shuttering 2 local offices

SCE&G will close its Meeting Street business office (above) and another in Hollywood in early summer.

For 23-year-old student Radeisha Jenkins, paying her electric bill in person is simple and convenient. The South Carolina Electric & Gas Co. business office in downtown Charleston is a mere three minutes from her home.

“I just found out about this one and it saves me a bunch of gas,” she said outside the Meeting Street branch Tuesday afternoon.

Though she could pay her bill online, it’s not something she does, she said.

But she’s about to lose the convenience of paying in person so close to home. By the end of June, SCE&G plans to close its offices at 141 Meeting St. on the peninsula, along with 5163 Town Council Drive in Hollywood, the company said Tuesday.

The utility cited a slowdown in foot traffic at the two locations as one of the reasons for closing them, along with “operational efficiencies,” or cost savings.

The last day for both offices is June 26, according to the company, which is owned by Cayce-based SCANA Corp. SCE&G is directing affected customers to its other physical locations in the Charleston area.

“With nearby payment locations and the relocation of our employees to other positions within the company, this should have a minimal impact on services, and we are committed to making this a smooth transition for all,” Sam Dozier, vice president for customer service, said in a written statement.

Dozier also noted that the way “customers prefer to pay and communicate with SCE&G is evolving, and more of our customer interactions are moving online.”

While the most popular payment type is through the mail, SCE&G spokeswoman Kim Asbill said online payments have gone up 7 percent in the past three years. At the same time, in-person bill payments have fallen by 10 percent.

The parking lot at the downtown location had a number of open spaces early Tuesday afternoon, when a handful of customers came in and out of the building.

The company also has a drive-thru, which attracted a couple of cars that time of day.

SCE&G owns the Meeting Street building that houses its long-standing downtown business office, which is in the heart of the city’s tourist district.

The company has no “specific plans at this time” for the property, Asbill said.

Contact Allison Prang at 937-5705.