What does it all mean? Learn how to understand your bill

We are learning to acclimate ourselves to a “new normal”. Virtual graduations, birthdays celebrated by car parades, and wearing facemasks to keep others safe are all part of our daily lives. Workplace closures, working from home, distance learning, and staying home all factor into our energy bills.

The more people are at home, the more energy they use. High temperatures result in more energy use and nearly half of the month of July was 100 degrees or higher! If you open your most recent CPS Energy bill and are surprised to see the balance, you are probably interested in what makes up the amount you see. You may be surprised to learn your bill is comprised of more than just fees for the energy you purchased.

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The electric and natural gas charges included on your CPS Energy bill include base rate components, fuel adjustment costs, regulatory adjustment, and city services. That is a lot of information so here are some definitions and explanations to help you understand your bill better:

  •  Service Availability Charge – covers the cost of metering and billing for your address. This fee is not based on, or impacted by, energy you use.
  • Energy Charge – this recovers the costs for operating our power plants and other infrastructure based on the amount of electricity you use. Energy consumption is measured in kilowatt hours (kWh). A kWh is a unit of measure that equals the amount of energy you would use if you kept a 1,000-watt appliance running for an hour. A 100-watt light bulb would use 1 kWh if it was switched on for 10 hours.  Your energy charge is the kWh used during the month multiplied by $0.0691 per kilowatt-hour (kWh).
  • Peak Capacity Charge – This is applied June through September when an additional charge of $0.0198 is applied to bills for every kilowatt-hour (kWh) used over 600 kWh.  The Peak Capacity Charge covers the higher costs for electricity CPS Energy incurs during summer months when demand for electricity is at its highest.
  • Fuel Adjustment – This is the cost for fuel above the base rate, and it fluctuates monthly based on the prices CPS Energy pays for fuel. Current and thirteen-month Fuel Adjustment Charge Breakdowns are posted on cpsenergy.com/billhelp.  Here is what goes into it:
    • Generated Power Costs – fuel costs associated with CPS Energy’s nuclear, coal, and natural gas units
    • Renewable Power Costs – renewable energy purchases of wind, solar, and landfill gas
    • Market Power Purchases – purchases from the open market
    • Save for Tomorrow Energy Plan (STEP) – recovers a portion of costs associated with energy efficiency programs
  • Regulatory Adjustment – shows the state-mandated fees and costs associated with the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) grid.

Costs recovered through Regulatory Adjustment factor include:

  • North American Electric Reliability Corporation – fees charged by this not-for-profit international regulatory authority whose mission is to assure the effective and efficient reduction of risks to the reliability and security of the grid.
  • Expenditures – associated with ERCOT-wide transmission grid

City Services – fees collected on behalf of the City of San Antonio (CoSA) which may include:

  • Garbage Collection – this fee only appears on your bill if CoSA is your service provider for garbage pickup.

We are in some of the hottest months of the year. Energy conservation will be necessary for all of us if we aim to keep our electric bills manageable. Visit cpsenergy.com/tips to learn how to save energy. 

CPS Energy continues to be flexible when working with customers to ensure they are on one of many assistance programs during this time of need.  CPS Energy has a variety of money-saving and general assistance programs available for customers.  For more information on these programs, customers can visit cpsenergy.com/assistance or call 210-353-2222 to speak to an Energy Advisor.

John Moreno

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

John Moreno