In April of 2013, we updated our bill format to a completely unbundled bill. This change was designed to be more transparent about how your electric dollar is spent. The following explanations are designed to be read with a copy of your bill in hand, and mainly cover the middle section of your bill, from left to right.
The Current and Previous kWh readings are the main way we figure out how much electricity you used during the billing period. Most of our meters measure your use one kWh at a time, while some types of meters use the meter multiplier to calculate your actual kWh use.
The Total kWh used field shows how much electricity you used during the billing period, in terms of kWh. The kWh used last year field shows a comparison between your current kWh use and the use during a similar billing period from the previous year.
The Peak kW demand reflects your highest kilowatt demand during any 15-minute segment of the billing period. This reading basically shows the largest amount of electricity you are using at any one time during the billing period.
The distribution section recovers the fixed costs we incur in providing you access to the electric system. These costs include: facilities; poles; wires; transformers; substations; vehicles; service personnel; equipment maintenance; and other equipment that helps us maintain a safe and reliable distribution system. Also included are operating margins, metering, accounting, billing, member services and administrative personnel.
The Base amount is a set monthly charge, similar to a monthly access fee you might pay for your phone service. It represents most of the fixed costs that we incur, even if you don’t use any electricity.
The Delivery component covers the balance of our fixed distribution costs and varies based on your kilowatt/hour (kWh) use (or kW demand for some three-phase accounts).
The Rate adjustment is a placeholder that will eventually allow us to make small changes to our rates on an annual basis, if financial considerations from the previous year require it. If these small changes are required, they must be approved by our board of directors and they will remain in place for the entire year. This charge could go up or down and should replace major rate increases every few years. We do not expect to use this line item in 2013.
The Energy portion recovers the actual cost of the electricity that you use. We receive electricity from our wholesale power provider, Prairie Power, Inc. (PPI). PPI is made up of ten Illinois electric cooperatives (including EIEC) that banded together to increase our collective buying power.
The Transmission portion of your bill consists of the costs we pay to get electricity from power plants over high-voltage electric lines to the 25 substations on our distribution system. It is charged by the owners of the transmission lines.
The Generation investment is based on your kWh use and represents our long-term investment (through PPI) in the Prairie State Energy Campus and other smaller power plants. This investment has enabled us to secure 30 years of stable energy pricing and will certainly help shield us from potential increases in the cost to produce electricity.
The Power cost adjustment (PCA) is the difference between the actual cost of the electricity we get from PPI and our projected costs. The PCA varies each month, and could be a negative amount, which would give you a bill credit.
The Public utility tax is administered by the State of Illinois and applies to each kWh of electricity that you use.
This section of your bill could include your security light rental, load management credits, service upgrades, deposits, adjustments, equipment loans and other miscellaneous charges.