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Are your recent energy bills higher than what you have come to expect? Extreme summer heat is the most likely culprit. To better understand your energy bill, here are some answers to the frequently asked questions we get on what contributes to your bill.

What are the biggest users of electricity in my house? The biggest contributors to monthly energy usage are typically heating or cooling units, water heater and large appliances, such as your washer, dryer, stove or refrigerator.

Why does my bill increase even when I don’t do anything different? Heating and cooling usage is impacted by the difference in outdoor temperature and thermostat setting. Running your cooling unit at 75 degrees when it is 85 degrees outside will allow your unit to run intermittently, while 100-degree weather will require the unit to constantly run to keep your house cool. Likewise, you’ll see higher winter bills when it’s coldest outside, such as last December’s cold front.

What are some ways I can reduce usage during extreme heat or cold? Since your biggest user of electricity during these months is heating and cooling, run your temperatures as high as you can comfortably stand it in the summer, and as low as possible in the winter. To increase comfort and efficiency, use curtains and blinds to keep sun out during the summer and let it in during the winter. Additionally, ceiling fans are a great tool to cool you in the summer or push the warm air down to you in the winter.

What are the different components that make up my total bill?
Basic Service: This rate is a flat amount and covers the cost to run service to your home or business, regardless of the amount of energy you use. This covers the cost of your meter, service line, transformers and other equipment necessary to bring safe and reliable power to your home.
KWH: Kilowatt-hours. This is your basic usage rate and does not fluctuate. At CHELCO, this distribution-level rate has not increased since 2013.
DCA: Distribution Cost Adjustment. This rate covers the day-to-day costs CHELCO incurs to operate. This rate is within our direct control, and its most recent adjustment was a rate decrease in 2021.
WPCA: Wholesale Power Cost Adjustment. This rate covers the price for our wholesale power provider, PowerSouth Energy Cooperative, to supply electricity. This rate is largely dependent on fuel prices, which have been volatile over the past few years but have recently begun to stabilize. If your bill is changing but your usage isn’t, it’s because this rate fluctuates from month to month.