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A guide to understanding your energy bill
Saving money on your energy costs starts with learning what’s on your energy bill. Taking the time to read and understand your energy bill can help you pinpoint just how much energy your household consumes — helping you find savvy ways to become more energy efficient.
The average Texas power bill is currently $158.19 with a rate of 14.46 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh). Deregulation in Texas allows customers to find the best electricity rate and plan for their energy usage patterns. We’ll help you understand your bill to determine how you can cut your costs or whether it’s time to switch providers and plans.
Let’s dive deeper into what’s on your monthly electricity bill and how you can use your newfound knowledge to shave off unnecessary energy consumption and lower your energy bills.
Before we get started, you’ll see sample bills to help you learn how to read your electric bill. Depending on your retail energy provider (REP), your bill may look slightly different from this sample bill, but the information should be similar.
1. Account Information
This section contains your personal information, including your name, account number, and service address. If you need to contact your provider’s customer care line or sign up for a new plan, you will need to have this information nearby.
2. Current Bill Statement
Your current bill statement lists the charges for the most recent billing period and the due date for your payment. This section also notes the charges for your last bill statement.
Reviewing this section is important for catching signs you may be using more electricity than you did the previous month. While your energy bill may increase as the seasons get hotter and decrease during cooler months, any changes in your electricity bill that don’t follow typical seasonal changes may be a sign you have an appliance that no longer uses electricity efficiently.
3. Bill Overview
Here you will find a brief summary of your bill and how it was calculated. This section includes a breakdown of taxes and utility charges included in your bill. You can find a more detailed explanation later on this page.
4. Consumption History
This section provides a look at how your energy usage fluctuated over a period of time – usually between six months and a year. This can help consumers pinpoint a month when they typically consume more energy or predict when their bills may be higher due to seasonality.
5. Monthly Usage
In the monthly usage section, you can see exactly how much energy you consumed for the current month by kWh. Depending on your REP, this section may also include information such as your usage from last month or from the same month last year.
6. Payment Slip
If you plan to pay by mail, you will use this payment slip. Many REPs offer online payment or autopay options, which are normally noted in this section.
7. Bill Breakdown
The bill breakdown section is a detailed explanation of how your bill was calculated. This section will include your meter number, your electricity rate, and any charges influencing your cost. Following are some common items you will see in this section.
Electric Supply Charge: The supply charge makes up most of your bill. This charge notes the price of electricity consumed (in kWh), which is calculated using your energy plan’s rate.
Market Charges: These charges depend on changes in the electricity market. They help to keep the grid reliable and balance supply and demand.
UDC Charge: This stands for “Utility Distribution Company,” which is the company that delivers electricity to your home. Every household in the utility company’s service area will be charged the same amount, regardless of their REP. Sometimes these are listed as TDU or TDSP charges.
Taxes: Here you will see state and city taxes. You may also see taxes from MGRT or PUCA. MGRT is the “Miscellaneous Gross Receipts Tax,” which is a tax from your utility company. PUCA, or the “Public Utility Commission Assessment,” is a charge from the Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUCT), which manages the Texas electric market.
Every household in your utility’s service area will pay the same amount for MGRT and PUCA.
These taxes are not impacted by your REP.
8. Ways to Pay
Your REP may offer different methods of bill payment. To learn more about your options, please contact your REP directly.
Some REPs accept payment by:
- Credit card
- Debit card
- Cashier’s check
- Personal check