Insight to Understanding Your Bill

By now, many of you have already opened your September bill and perhaps were a bit surprised by what you saw. As you know, August had 28 days of triple-digit heat. That usually translates to higher than normal electric bills. But do you know what exactly you are paying for? If not, keep reading to better understand your bill.

The electric and natural gas charges found on your CPS Energy residential bill are made up of base rate components, the fuel adjustment, regulatory adjustment and city services.

Here is an explanation of the various charges:

  •  Service Availability Charge – covers the cost of having a meter at your property for billing purposes. This fee is applied to your bill even if there isn’t any consumption.
  • Energy Charge – recovers costs for power plants and other infrastructure based on the amount of electricity you use multiplied by $0.0691 per kilowatt hour (kwh).
  • Peak Capacity Charge – applies during the months of June through September when an additional charge of $0.0198 is added to bills for every kwh used in excess of 600 kWh.  The Peak Capacity Charge covers the higher costs for producing electricity CPS Energy incurs during summer months when the demand for electricity is at its highest. An analogy for this is, if you had three cars and used them all during the summer, your cost for fuel would be higher than if you didn’t drive them during other months of the year. Same with our power plants, we use them all during the summer to meet energy demands, therefore we pay more for fuel and it shows up on customer bills as the Peak Capacity Charge.
  • Fuel Adjustment – comprised of the following:
    • Power generation cost – cost of fuel such as coal, nuclear and natural gas to operate our power plants.
    • Renewable Energy Cost – costs associated with purchasing electricity from sources like wind power, solar power and landfill gas.
    • Market power – cost associated with purchasing electricity from the Texas grid also known as purchasing power from the “open market”.
    • Save for Tomorrow Energy Plan (STEP) – cost associated with our energy efficiency programs. The goal of this initiative is to reduce energy demand by 771 megawatts (MW). Essentially, eliminating the need to build a new power plant, purchase renewable energy or purchase that electricity in the open market.
  • Regulatory Adjustment – this is a pass-through charge to our customers and cover the cost for:
  • City Services – fees collected on behalf of the City of San Antonio (CoSA) for:
    • Garbage collection – this fee only appears on your bill if CoSA is your service provider for garbage pick up.

For the natural gas rate, the residential base rate includes just the Service Availability Charge and the Energy Charge. Each of these items are listed on the back of your bill.

August was an extremely hot month. According to ERCOT this resulted in record-breaking energy consumption in Texas. Compared to August of 2018, August 2019 had a 7 percent higher energy peak. For most of us, this means we used more electricity and will see that reflected in higher than normal bills.

More insight on how to read your bill can be found on our website.

Additionally, to help you manage your cost, you can use our Energy Calculator to see how much energy you’ve bought in a particular month simply by entering information from your meter. Previous meter read information can be found on your bill.

As you have read, your CPS Energy bill is comprised of a lot more than just a charge for your electric or natural gas use. Hopefully, you now have a better understanding of all the components that make up your monthly bill.

For customers who may experience difficulties making their payments, we can help with payment arrangements or direct them to local agencies for assistance. Please visit our website for more information on our customer assistance programs.

John Moreno

John is part of the Corporate Communications team at CPS Energy.

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