Understanding your electric bill

understanding your bill

Have you ever wondered what makes up your electric bill? In short, a lot!

As a not-for-profit utility, our goal is to provide you with exceptional service at the lowest cost. Despite increases in the general cost of living, we have been able to keep residential rates the same for the past six years. Imagine if you could pay the same price for a gallon of gas for the next six years!

The first item on your bill is labeled “Energy charge” and is made up of more than just how many kWh you used during the last billing period. It is a combination of both variable and fixed charges.

The variable component of this Energy charge is based on how many kWhs you use. It is a variable cost because this number goes up and down as you use different amounts of electricity each month. The energy we purchase from Duke Energy is the largest cost that is recovered in this manner.

Since it is a variable cost to Piedmont, we recover it in a variable way. The amount on your bill is the amount of kWhs you use multiplied by the electric rate. That is why your bill will typically be higher after months of high use caused by seasonal temperatures.

There is also a fixed component to this energy charge on your bill that recovers the amount needed to pay for the expenses that your co-op incurs for things like equipment maintenance and depreciation, administrative costs, interest expense and billing costs. These expenses are independent of how much electricity you use and help ensure that electricity is available whenever you want it. This is why you would still receive a bill even if you turned off your HVAC and every appliance in your home.

The “Power cost adjustment” line item on your bill is also based on your energy use. For the last few years the power cost adjustment has been a credit to you because we have been able to provide you with power at a lower cost than was expected despite the additional costs, like coal ash clean-up costs, that have been passed along to us by Duke Energy.

Other line items on a residential member bill include an “Energy rider,” an “Efficiency rider,” a “Storm cost recovery rider,” state taxes and, for those members who participate, a contribution to the Piedmont Electric Helping Hands Foundation. The “Energy rider” and “Efficiency rider” recover the costs to comply with the North Carolina Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard, and the “Storm cost recovery rider” recovers the extra cost of restoring power after the prior year’s extreme storms.

We’re proud to say that we strive to keep costs low while providing our members with safe, affordable and reliable electric power. Likewise, we have not had a general rate realignment since 2014! Our members are our owners and as an at-cost provider of power, any revenue we collect above our expenses is returned to members as a capital credit.

How can I reduce my bill?

• Participate in one of our energy-saving programs. Our suite of load management programs help you save energy and actually pay you a credit for participating.

• Our free online calculators can help you identify ways to save energy (and money!) on your electric bill.

• Use SmartHub to see your daily energy use. This information can help you identify potential issues with appliances in your home or changes in how you use energy.

• Make home improvements based on a free energy analysis by one of our energy advisors.

As your not-for-profit electric cooperative, our goal is always to help you save money every day. If you have any questions about your electric bill, please call us at 800.222.3107.