Common Questions

What is a Base Charge?

The Base Charge is a set monthly fee, similar to a monthly access fee you might pay for your phone service. It represents most of the fixed costs that we incur to be able to provide your specific location with electricity. There are many costs involved in getting you the ability to receive electricity –  even if you don’t actually use any.

What is the Power Cost Adjustment (PCA)?

The Power Cost Adjustment (PCA) reflects the variance in the cost of electricity from our power supplier on a month-to-month basis. Each year, co-op management and the board of directors develops what we think will be our average wholesale cost per kWh. Each month, we compare the actual wholesale cost to the budgeted amount to determine what, if any, PCA to charge. The cost could be negative number, which would actually give you a bill credit!

My bill seems a bit high…why is that?

The first thing to look at is your kWh use. How does it compare to previous months, or last year at this time? What changes have taken place (colder/warmer weather, new appliances, guests, etc.) The key to addressing this question is to figure out what is using the electricity in your home, and then deciding how valuable it is to you. Can you get rid of your old freezer to save some money each month? Can you set your thermostat to 68 degrees in the winter and 72 in the summer? Sometimes it comes down to cost versus comfort. Check our resources page for more information.  You can also check degree day data to figure out how hot or cold it was.

What is a kWh (kilowatt hour)?

A kilowatt hour (kWh) is a unit to measure electric consumption. For instance, a 100 watt light bulb will use 1,000 watt hours in 10 hours (100 watts x 10 hours = 1000 watt hours.) A kilowatt is 1,000 watts, so that means that one 100 watt light bulb will use 1 kWh in 10 hours. A 1,500 watt space heater will use 1.5 kWh in one hour.

Why is my neighbor’s bill so much lower than mine?

You just answered that question yourself – it is their bill, not yours. Every home has different use patterns and different electric components. A better comparison is to gauge the fluctuations of your bill from month-to-month. Usually, your kWh use (and your bill) will be lowest in the spring and fall (April, May, September and October.) When other months are higher, it is usually because of the temperature and weather conditions.

Are Eastern Illini’s rates higher than other electric companies?

Compared to some other local electric companies, our rates are a bit higher. Quite simply, it costs more to provide electricity to rural areas than it does urban ones. It is a matter of density. Eastern Illini has about three member/owners for every mile of line we have in service. Investor Owned Utilities (IOUs) have about 40 customers for every mile of line they serve. So, for Eastern Illini, the fixed costs associated with getting power to you (our distribution component) are spread out between fewer people.

What happens to my deposit money or credit balance on my account?

If you have a deposit on your account, or if you decide to pay ahead on your bill and have a credit balance, we follow the Illinois Commerce Commission guidelines on utility deposit interest rates. In 2016, we will pay 0.5 percent on those funds.

Do you offer any special rates or discounts?

We have special rates for member/owners that heat their home with electric systems or are willing to let us shut them off during our high-demand days. We also offer monthly bill credits for member/owners that let us cycle their electric water heater and/or air conditioner.

I had to pay a deposit when I started my service….when can I get it back?

Generally speaking, we’d like to see at least two year’s worth of on-time payments before we consider returning your deposit. We may also do another credit check when you request your deposit to gauge your overall credit worthiness.

Other questions? Send us a note through the EI Help Desk.