My Electric Bill

Deck: 

My utility keeps and makes money on PSC-set delivery charges, $15.51, 29 percent of my latest electric bill, or 47 cents per day.

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My electric bill this month is $53.41. For the 33 days through April 5th, the electricity for our three-bedroom Victorian house cost $1.62 per day, or 14 cents per kilowatt-hour. 

We took just 383 kilowatt-hours from the grid. It's not much. The national average is nearly three times that amount. But this bill of mine covered parts of March and April when air conditioning isn't used.

My bills have been this way for six straight months, since mid-October of last year. We've been taking 353 to 409 kilowatt-hours per month. 

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But in my bills for the periods ending June 15th, July 15th, August 15th, September 15th, and October 15th, our take spikes up. We took 705 to 1,141 kilowatt-hours during each of the five summer and near-summer months. 

My regulatory jurisdiction years ago dispensed with vertically-integrated utilities and their ownership of power plants. So my utility passes through the $33.85 of supply charges in my electric bill, 63 percent of the bill, without earning a penny.

The transmission portion of these supply charges is only $2.69, or 8 cents per day, or 0.7 cents per kilowatt-hour. We obsess over FERC decisions on transmission, such as the incentive rate of return for transmission development, but the impacts of these decisions on customers can be miniscule. Less than a penny per day?

The generation portion of these supply charges is $31.16, or 94 cents per day, or 8.1 cents per kilowatt-hour. 

My utility keeps and makes money on delivery charges set by my public service commission, $15.51, 29 percent of the bill. It's 47 cents per day, or 4.1 cents per kilowatt-hour. We obsess over PSC decisions on distribution, such as utility rate of return, but the impacts of these decisions on customers can also be miniscule. A few pennies per day?

The rate design for delivery charges is almost entirely fixed. Of the $15.51, $13 is fixed no matter how many kilowatt-hours I take in a month.

The remainder of the bill is for delivery charges not set by my commission. These surcharges and taxes amount to $4.05 this month, 12 cents per day, or 1.1 cents per kilowatt-hour.

Of the whole bill, 10.6 cents per kilowatt-hour is variable (with how many kilowatt-hours we take from the grid) and 3.4 cents per kilowatt-hour is fixed. So if we took one more kilowatt-hour per day, we'd pay 10.6 cents more per day. Not a budget breaker for most households.

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How does your electric bill this month compare with mine?  

 

Public Utilities Fortnightly subscriptions are $287 per year, or $23.92 per month, or 79 cents per day. Supply and delivery charges are bundled, and are fixed no matter how much you learn from the articles and columns and laugh at the cartoons, puzzles and features.

Steve Mitnick, Editor-in-Chief, Public Utilities Fortnightly
E-mail me: mitnick@fortnightly.com