Understanding your electricity bill is part of being an informed consumer – but it’s also tempting to skim over all the numbers and sections without looking at them in depth. However, examining your bill can show you how you’re using energy and how to be more efficient. You’ll also be able to check for extra fees and charges that don’t look quite right.
Let’s break down what those numbers really mean using a sample bill. Our partner Constellation Energy provided us with an example. Your bill may look slightly different depending on your retail electric provider (REP) but should include similar information.
This section includes your personal details and your account number, which you’ll need for customer support services and to sign up for a new electricity plan. It may also list the service period, so you can tell when your plan will end.
Here you’ll find the charges for the past month and your payment due date. This is also where you’ll find your last payment amount and any late fees or bill credits.
The bill overview shows a brief breakdown of how your bill was calculated. It allows you to see how much each portion of your service cost, including taxes and utility charges among other things. This is just a snapshot of your charges, with a more detailed explanation on page 2.
Many REPs provide a view of your energy usage over time, often over the course of the past six months to a year. This can help you pinpoint fluctuations in your energy usage and know what to expect of your bill during different seasons.
This part of your bill shows how you used energy for the month in question. It could include a comparison to your usage at that time last year, the average temperature, your average daily usage, or other statistics depending on your REP.
Use this slip to send your bill payment in the mail. If your account uses autopay, it will be noted in this section.
This is your chance for a detailed look at where your money is going. It will include your meter number, your electricity rate, and a list of what charges go into each section shown in the bill overview (see number three above). Here are some common phrases you might see:
Energy Charges or Electric Supply Charges: This is the bulk of your bill. It is the price for the energy you consumed (in kWh), calculated using your plan’s electricity rate.
Market Charges: These are fees associated with fluctuations in the energy market. They help keep the energy grid reliable and balance supply and demand.
UDC: This stands for “Utility Distribution Company,” which is the TDU or TDSP that delivers electricity to your area. Everyone in your utility company’s service area pays the same electricity delivery rate regardless of who their REP is. You’ll see that charge listed here.
Taxes: In addition to state and city taxes, you may also see MGRT and PUCA charges here.
Everyone in your utility service area pays the same MGRT and PUCA regardless of who their REP is.
Your provider may offer more than one way to pay. For more information, please contact your REP.
Jenna is a writer covering the environment and energy industry. She is a Massachusetts native and graduated from the University of Massachusetts Amherst with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and French.