INFORMATION IN A COMED ELECTRIC BILL
The ComEd bill starts by reporting the amount of electricity used during the billing period--measured in number of kilowatt-hours (kWh). (One kilowatt-hour is equal to using a 100-watt light bulb for 10 hours.) This number is then used to calculate most of the itemized charges included in the bill.
Delivery service charges make up roughly one-third of the bill:
- customer charge, a fixed amount that covers the costs of providing a standard service connection and basic customer services;
- standard metering charge, also a fixed amount, to recover the costs of meter reading and servicing the meter equipment;
- distribution facilities charge, a per-kWh charge to cover the costs of delivering power from the utility to your home.
Supply charges are the largest portion of the bill and cover the actual costs to ComEd to provide electricity to your home:
- electricity supply charge, a per-kWh charge to cover the cost to ComEd to purchase the electricity it delivers to your home. (ComEd no longer owns power plants and must buy electricity from the wholesale market.)
- transmission supply charge, another per-kWh charge that covers the cost of carrying electricity from the power generator to the utility.
Various other items comprise the remainder of the bill:
- rate relief credit resulting from a 2007 settlement with the state of Illinois under which ComEd agreed to provide rate relief to its residential customers through 2009;
- environmental cost recovery adjustment, a charge that covers costs for cleaning up pollution at former gas manufacturing sites;
- taxes and a franchise cost.
ComEd also provides a usage profile to help customers understand their energy consumption patterns over time. It includes a graph showing monthly electrical usage over a 13-month period as well as a chart reporting average daily kWh used and average daily temperature for the current month, the previous month, and the previous year. This information can assist customers in identifying those months in which to expect higher usage and higher utility bills.
Customers can review two years of their account history by accessing their account on the ComEd website. They can also learn about ways in which they can save energy and money by visiting ComEd's Customer Affordable Reliable Energy (CARE) site. Programs of special interest include:
- Appliance Recycling Program--ComEd will pick up and recycle older-model refrigerators, freezers, and room air conditioners.
- Central Air Conditioning Cyling program--Homeowners who have central air conditioning can earn credits on their summer electric bills by allowing ComEd to cycle their air conditioning compressors off and on during heavy-demand summer days. The air conditioning fan will stay on to circulate already cooled air and help keep the home comfortable. Cycling may occur only on weekdays and for limited periods of time.
- Residential Real Time Pricing (RRTP)--Ordinarily, ComEd customers pay a fixed price per kWh of electricity, no matter what time of day they use the power. But in fact, electricity prices fluctuate widely throughout the day. RRTP customers are charged for power based on the actual price of electricity on the wholesale market at the time they use the power. They can save money by changing their usage habits to take advantage of lower-priced time periods.