Energy bills take away money from the bottom line, but making the right choices on how to cut them takes help.

The South Carolina Energy Office is now able to provide free energy assessments for public, non-profit and private, for-profit entities. These studies can provide practical guidance for how farms and other agricultural operations can slash their utility bills, freeing funds for other purposes.

The need to cut utility costs is clear. In South Carolina electricity prices have risen more than 22 percent in the last 10 years, while natural gas prices have skyrocketed almost 100 percent, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Often property owners want to invest in steps that will cut their bills but lack the knowledge of what is the best step to take.

If you own your facility, and can provide records of energy bills for the past year, you may be eligible to receive an energy assessment and other technical assistance on energy-related issues.

These services will be provided by the Energy Office through a team of energy consultants made available through an application process.

To learn more about this program and apply to receive an energy assessment, please visit http://www.energy.sc.gov/etap.