How meeting senators, congressman changed my perception of political leaders

page5sclaugust2015On page 5 of the August 2015 edition of South Carolina Living magazine, we featured the Washington Youth Tour and the four students who represented us.  Nate Fata, of Socastee High School, shared his experience with readers. 

This summer I had the pleasure of touring Washington, D.C., as part of the electric co-ops’ Youth Tour. Of all the incredible experiences that I had, the most memorable was meeting U.S. Sens. Tim Scott and Lindsey Graham and U.S. Rep. Tom Rice (R-Dist. 7). Meeting them on this trip singlehandedly changed my view of our state’s national leaders.

On the Tuesday morning of the Youth Tour, I walked with my fellow South Carolinian peers to the Cannon House Office Building from the U.S. Supreme Court, where we had visited earlier that morning. Rep. Rice and his staff received the 10 or so of us from his district with warm smiles and outstretched hands. The congressman was very outgoing and hospitable, engaging each of us in conversation. He asked us about school, and what we thought of D.C., and only talked to us about politics when we asked him questions about local trade issues.

After meeting Rep. Rice and touring the Capitol, we met Sens. Scott and Graham on the back steps for pictures. They arrived shortly after, and were not only very friendly, but also experienced selfie-takers! Sen. Scott arrived first, and happily took pictures with all 73 of us. He cracked jokes the whole time, and even complimented me on my sunglasses. Sen. Graham arrived shortly after, expressing regret that he would only be able to take a few pictures, due to his pressing schedule as a presidential candidate. However, to my knowledge, he did not refuse a single person a picture or handshake who wanted one.

This experience changed my outlook on our leaders. In person, they seemed to be down-to-earth, funny, and easy to relate to, instead of the somewhat remote, distant politicians that the media, whether purposefully or not, often portrays them.

Howle alerts members about remodeling plans in Socastee

James P. "Pat" Howle, Executive Vice President and CEO

James P. “Pat” Howle, Executive Vice President and CEO

In his column published in the August edition of South Carolina Living magazine, Executive Vice President and CEO, James P. “Pat” Howle alerted members about remodeling plans that will impact members who use the Socastee office. The remodeling project is scheduled to begin September 28. 

CONVENIENCE is the name of the game in today’s fast-paced world, which is why we offer a variety of payment options—everything from mobile apps to My Energy Online to pay stations at many local banks to Bank Draft.

Even so, many members of Horry Electric Cooperative still value the time-honored tradition of transacting business in person, which, of course, we welcome.

It11940566_10153250201454480_2117783876_o (2)’s always a pleasure to see our members, both at our Conway and Socastee offices. In order to enhance our service to members at both locations, we will be making some changes over the next several months.

The Socastee office will undergo significant improvements which will entail a few temporary changes for members. Effective at the end of the business day on Sept. 25, we’ll be moving next door to our sister co-op, Horry Telephone Cooperative (HTC).

When the business day begins on September 28,  members will be able to find us next door  and will be able to pay bills and conduct other HEC business.

The Conway office, meanwhile, will be conducting business as usual on Cultra Road, with just a few minor, temporary inconveniences.

We’re still finalizing plans at this point, but promise to keep you posted on our progress through South Carolina Living, our Facebook page and other social media, as well as signage at both locations, of course.

We hope you’ll pardon the temporary inconvenience, but recognize that, as with everything we do at Horry Electric, it’s being done with better member service in mind.

Good just got better – download the new and improved app today!

new app promoThe new and improved Co-op Connections® App is ready to be downloaded!

“The updated version is a great way for members to find deals in their neighborhood and while traveling,” says Toni Gore, whose responsibilities at Horry Electric include getting local businesses signed up to participate in the program. “The app also provides members with a digital card they can show at local merchants and at the pharmacy when filling a prescription.

In an effort to be more of an “all in one” app, quick links to  Locate Healthy Savings Providers, Cash Back Mall and the Appliance Rebate Finder have been added to the app. 

The app is free and available for iOS and Droid devices. “If you had the original version, you should have received an update alert,” says Gore.

Have you read your copy of the August edition of SCL?

The August 2015 edition of South Carolina Living magazine has been delivered to the mailboxes of members and subscribers and it’s also available online!

IMG_9104Horry Electric local highlights include:

  • CEO Column: A few changes to better serve you
  • Youth Tour 2015 Report
  • Co-op Connections® Local Discounts: Support local businesses and save money!  There are more than 100 on the current list.

HEC WIRE collecting school supplies

Horry Electric Cooperative’s WIRE (Women Involved in Rural Electrification) group is collecting school supplies for local elementary school children. 

Collecting ‘Back to School’ supplies is an annual project for the group and this is the eighth year they have collected items ranging from pens, pencils and scissors to notebooks, notepaper and rulers.

“Two schools are selected as recipients each year, ” says Susan Brown, executive assistant for the cooperative. “This year,” she reports, “our collected supplies will go to students attending Homewood Elementary and Loris Elementary schools.” The supplies collected will be divided evenly between the two schools.

Members and others in the community interested in donating school supplies are asked to please drop them off at the Cooperative’s main office on Cultra Road in Conway.

Donations will be accepted until Friday, August 7, 2015.


WIRE was created as a nonprofit organization to foster interest in and understanding of the rural electric program and to improve the quality of life in rural areas. The efforts of WIRE members go beyond scholarships and fundraising to touch the lives of many people across the Palmetto State.

WIRE dues are $7.00 per year. If you are a member of Horry Electric Cooperative, you are invited to join! For more information, contact Susan Brown, WIRE coordinator, at 369-6323 or

Does your home beat the heat?

redquestionguy Energy use and costs typically rise as the mercury rises, but there are a number of simple, economical ways to boost comfort, save energy, and cut electric bills. Most of these energy-saving steps can pay for themselves relatively quickly. For example, weather-stripping and caulking are inexpensive ways to boost efficiency and cut energy costs year round.

A substantial portion of total residential energy costs are spent cooling homes. Reduce energy costs and ready the air conditioner with a cleaning and tune-up. Clean or change filters monthly during the cooling season. An efficiently running cooling system will save dollars. If you’re purchasing a new unit, check the efficiency rating, or SEER. The higher the SEER number the more efficient the air conditioner. For greater operating efficiency, install unit in a shady area, and keep free of plant overgrowth and debris.

Most of summer heat buildup in homes comes through windows. Simply closing the curtains, blinds and shades can cut this heat gain by up to 40 percent, and save big dollars in cooling costs. Installing awnings or shutters over windows exposed to direct sunlight can reduce indoor heat gain by up to 70 percent. Outdoor landscaping that includes shade trees and insulating foundation plants can also cut energy costs.

Ventilate the attic and check insulation. Adequately sized vents and/or an attic fan can help keep hot air from building up. If your attic has less than 6 to 8 inches of insulation, consider adding more. Proper attic insulation can save up to 30 percent of your cooling bill. Be sure the insulation doesn’t block vents or cover exhaust fans.

Another inexpensive way to keep cool and cut air conditioning costs is to use ceiling and oscillating fans to create a “wind chill” effect. The moving air makes the temperature feel cooler, and allows a higher air conditioner thermostat setting while maintaining cooling comfort. For each 1-degree increase in the thermostat setting, cooling costs can be trimmed by about 3 percent.

Follow these operating tips for greater energy efficiency and reduction in air conditioning costs:

  • images (11)Install a timer or programmable thermostat to raise and lower the temperature automatically. Leave it on a higher temperature while you’re away, and set it to cool the house half an hour before you return home.
  • Turn off unnecessary lights and television sets you’re not watching. Don’t leave computers on when not in use.
  • Make sure heat-producing appliances like televisions and lamps are away from the thermostat. They will raise the temperature at the thermostat and cause the air conditioner to run when it is not needed.
  • Plan to do hot work – washing and drying clothes, cooking and baking – during cooler morning and evening hours.
  • Keep your kitchen cooler by cooking in a microwave oven or grilling outdoors.

Increased summer electric demand not only can place a strain on budgets, it can place a serious strain on your home’s electrical system – a dangerous shock and fire hazard. Flickering or dimming lights, T. V. or computer monitors, or frequent circuit breaker trips are signs of an overloaded electrical system or faulty wiring that should be checked by a professional.

Homeowners can take simple electrical safety measures that can prevent overloaded outlets and serious damage and injury. Avoid using extension cords, and don’t use multiple plugs in outlets. Check plugs and electric cords for fraying or cracks, and never run cords across high-traffic areas, behind curtains or baseboards, or underneath rugs or furniture.

Source: Energy Education Council @

For more electrical safety advice, visit the EEC’s SafeElectricity web site.

Here for the long haul: National network a big benefit

James P. “Pat” Howle, CEO, column from the July 2015 edition of South Carolina Living magazine.

Horry logo stack new_cmykadjusted

Touchstone Energy Cooperatives® is the nationwide branding alliance created especially for and adopted by electric cooperatives in the late 90s. It is a unifying symbol of our common four core values; innovation, accountability, integrity and commitment to community.

When your co-op joined the ranks of the Touchstone Energy Cooperatives® nationwide branding alliance on Jan. 1, 1998, we were one of 300 participating electric cooperatives in 32 states delivering energy and energy solutions to more than 16 million members every day.

Today, there are 751 electric cooperatives in 46 states participating in the network collectively delivering on the commitments of integrity, accountability, innovation and commitment to community to 32 million members.

Our history is our future
The Horry Electric name, with Willie Wiredhand right in the center, is one of the most easily recognized symbol of your electric co-op in our community. Willie was the unifying symbol of all the electric cooperatives in the U.S.A. for a number of years. He was the 'spokesplug' for the national network of electric cooperatives

The Horry Electric name, with Willie Wiredhand right in the center, is one of the most easily recognized symbols of your electric co-op in our community. Willie was the unifying symbol of all the electric cooperatives in the U.S.A. for a number of years. He was the ‘spokesplug’ for the national network of electric cooperatives. He officially retired from the national network several years ago, but you still see him around some co-ops – including Horry Electric.

Horry Electric will be celebrating 75 years of service in January. Organized for and by people right here in Horry County, our co-op is deeply rooted in the community. Like all cooperative businesses, we operate according to the core principles and values first set out in 1844 by the Rochdale Society of Equitable Pioneers in England.

Members are directly impacted by at least five of the seven principles. Voluntary and open membership, democratic member control and member’s economic participation truly set us apart from other types of businesses. In everything we do, maintaining the cooperative’s autonomy and independence, as well as having a concern for the community by working for sustainable development are among the priorities set by the management team of your Cooperative and by the members of your board of trustees.

Alliance makes us stronger

The alliance with sister cooperatives and the addition of the Touchstone Energy brand to our existing local, well established presence in 1998 is an excellent example of cooperation among cooperatives, which is another guiding principle. From our history, we know we are much more effective with accomplishing goals by working together with sister cooperatives on a regional and national basis. Improved efficiency and cost effectiveness are other benefits of working together.

TWS_Logo_TSE_stackedBeing a part of the Touchstone Energy Cooperative network is a big benefit to our co-op, our members and our communities. It enhances our local connections and has given us the ability to follow through on another very important guiding principle— education, training and information. The list of resources and tools available through Touchstone Energy is long. You can learn more by visiting us online at and

Horry Electric Cooperative is here for the long haul. You can count on us to look out for you and be your advocate. It matters to us, because we work and live here, too. The majority of us are members ourselves. What impacts you, also impacts us.

Stay tuned as we gear up to celebrate 75 years in Horry County and 18 years as a Touchstone Energy Cooperative.