I am a Residential customer - what are the components that are used in calculating my electric bill?
Energy Charge – Energy is measured in kilowatt hours (Kwhs). This charge is for the actual usage of electricity for a period of time, usually one month. ie. watts X hours divided by 1,000 = kilowatt hours. 10 – 100 watt lamps burning for 10 hours = 10,000 watt hours or 10 kilowatt hours (10 Kwhs). The Energy Charge is broken down into four separate components:
- Market Supply (or Commodity portion [COM]),
- Monthly Adjustment,
- Transmission, and
Parts (2), (3), and (4) equal the Delivery portion [T&D]. The Utility Company has a different rate each month. The actual rate charged is a proration of the number of days of each month in the billing period.
Customer Charge – There is a charge per month, regardless of the amount of usage. This charge is to cover the cost of reading the meter and billing of the account and is part of the Delivery portion of the bill. This is not to be confused with a minimum charge for a specific consumption or usage, but is a charge added to the billing for the actual use indicated on the meter. This charge varies every month based upon the number of days in the billing period.
System Benefit Charge – The System Benefit Charge is a charge used to help relieve Con Edison of its stranded costs before New York State insisted they sell their generating plants for the purposes of electric deregulation. This charge is determined by multiplying the system benefit factor by the Kwhs used in the billing period and is a part of the Commodity portion of the bill.
“MSC” & “MAC” Adjustment Factor – The adjustment factor (charge or credit) is based upon the monthly cost of fuel purchased by the Utility Company as well as the cost for purchasing power from other Utilities during periods of high use by the customers. The “MSC” Adjustment is applied to the commodity portion of the bill and the “MAC” Adjustment is applied to the delivery portion of the bill. This charge or credit is determined by adding the two adjustment factors together and multiplying by the kilowatt hours (Kwhs) used in the billing period. The changing adjustments are determined monthly by Con Edison and can be either a charge (+) or a credit (-).
Rate Adjustment – The rate adjustment is based upon the taxes that the Utility Company must pay to the City of New York and the State of New York for their operation and is also known as the Gross Receipts Tax. There are two different factors of this adjustment: one applied to the commodity portions of the bill and one applied to the delivery portions of the bill. This adjustment will vary periodically.
Sales Tax – The last item used in calculating the bill is the sales tax which is currently 4.5% of the sum of all components listed above, for residential customers.
- Physically reading meter dials (from right to left),
- Physically reading a digital register, or
- Downloading meter readings via computer telecommunications.
The first two methods require a meter reader, of course, and, therefore, are more prone to human error, but the hand-held recording devices they use are programmed to alert the meter reader if the reading entered does not fall within certain parameters and he must double-check his reading. The hand-held computer will not allow the meter reader to move on to the next meter reading until the parameters are satisfied or overridden, keeping reading errors to a minimum.
The last method of downloading the meter readings over a phone line (or dedicated line) are digitally transferred and the readings are error-free. This last method is basically infallible of recording an erroneous reading.
- Is your unit clean and well maintained? The filter should be washed or replaced as often as necessary to keep it clean.
- How old is your air conditioner? New models are more efficient, so consider replacing an old unit.
- Look for the Energy Star label, a designation on many appliances that they are designed for maximum efficiency.
- Make sure the unit is the right size for the space you cool and that the doors to that space are closed.
- Turn it off when you are out of the room or away. It costs less to re-cool air than to run the air conditioner continuously.
- Don’t place it in direct sunlight or near a stove or radiator.
- Keep the condenser coils clean by vacuuming or dusting them regularly.
- Make sure the rubber door gaskets form a tight seal.
- Don’t open the door any more than necessary.
- And, new refrigerators are the most energy efficient.
Consider replacing an old one with a new Energy Star model. Remember that ceiling and window fans can make your home more comfortable without adding a lot to your bill.
- One of the most effective ways to save even more is with automatic timers and thermostats.
- Consider installing motion sensors. They turn lights on when someone enters the room and off when the room is empty.
- Replace ordinary bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs. They use 40-60% less energy.
- Turn off lights that aren’t necessary.
- Use bright lights only where someone is reading or working. Sometimes a night light is enough.
- When you buy new appliances, read EnergyGuide labels and look for the Energy Star designation.
There’s lots of new energy efficient products on the market. Don’t forget to throw out the old inefficient one!