Understanding your electricity bill

Caitlin Cosper / August 10th, 2016

It's important to understand your electric bill.

[Damir Khabirov]/Shutterstock

 

If you’re a new resident of Texas or new to energy choice, understanding your first electricity bill might be confusing. When you first look at your bill, you’ll see several lines such as your monthly supply rate charge, base charge (if you have one), transmission and delivery charges and sales taxes. The “total amount due” line is probably the first thing your eye goes to, but it’s important to understand why you’re paying what you’re paying.

Know your supply plan

When you’re shopping for a new supply plan on ChooseTexasPower.org, you’ll come across many competitive supply plan options that could work for your situation. If you have long-term housing or a mortgage, fixed-supply plans might be an attractive option. If you’re in short-term housing, or if you’d rather not have a long-term contract, a month-to-month, variable-rate plan might suit you.

No matter what you choose, be sure to understand the supply plan details. Some electric supply rates include delivery and transmission charges, but some do not. Some supply plans have a minimum energy usage requirement, and some do not. These factors will impact your monthly statement, so carefully read through each supply plan’s fact sheet.

Call your utility when you lose power

When you get your bill, you’ll notice several phone numbers. Usually in the top left corner you will find customer service numbers if you have questions about your statement. These numbers will allow you to contact your retailer. However, if you have an electrical emergency or if you experience power loss, you’ll need to contact your utility instead.

Usually, your power bill will list who is your local distribution company, or utility. For example, if you live in the Houston area, you are located within the CenterPoint Energy service area. Therefore, you would call CenterPoint Energy at 1-800-332-7143 to report a power outage or damage to electrical infrastructure.

Read the details

If you get your bill and it seems unusually high or low, or if you’re just simply unsure of why you’re being charged a particular amount, make sure to read statement dates. Retail electricity providers may bill differently from one another, so if you’re switching to a new supply plan be sure that you’re aware of your billing cycle.

If the weather has been unusually hot or cold, that can also impact your monthly statement. As a Texas resident, summer months can be brutally hot and you will most likely have your air conditioning running all day long. This will increase your consumption of electricity. If you normally consume under 1,000 kWh a month when the weather is mild, your consumption might increase to over 1,000 when it’s much hotter. Remember that the more electricity you use, the higher your monthly bill will be.

Be happy with your supply plan

If you’re not satisfied with your current energy supply plan and want to receive a better supply rate, be sure to call a ChooseTexasPower.com energy representative and enroll in a new supply plan that better fits your needs. Call today and take advantage of your power to choose!

Disclaimer: ChooseTexasPower.org is operated by Save On Energy LLC and is not affiliated with Power To Choose, powertochoose.org or the Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUCT).

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