What’s Included in Your SDCEA Bill?
Here’s a quick guide, including some explanations of why each item appears on a typical residential bill: Rate Class 101. Your bill will look different if you are not on this rate, and if you have questions about your bill, please call our office.
1. This section is an at-a-glance summary of your monthly bill. The bill you receive is for your energy usage and other billing activities from the previous month.
2. Keep this section’s information up to date in SmartHub or by calling us so Sangre de Cristo Electric Association (SDCEA) can contact you about outages and other service information. We don’t sell this information to third parties or try to sell you stuff.
3. This section calls out in detail the dates for which the account was billed, how many days were in the bill cycle, and your specific meter’s number identification and readings. A meter’s readings determine how much energy you used, measured in kilowatt hours, abbreviated as kWh.
4. This section shows your previous account balance with SDCEA and any payments applied since your last bill.
Now For the Bill Itself
5. The Energy Charge is the charge for the actual amount of electricity (energy) you used during the billing period, measured in kWh.
In this case, the user (as shown in section 2) used 519 kWh at SDCEA’s standard residential rate of 0.129440 cents per kWh, for a total charge of $67.18.
This amount will vary, based on how much electricity you use in a month. Decreasing your monthly energy use will lower the amount due on this line item. Increasing the amount of electricity used in a month will increase the amount due on this line item. Most consumers in our service territory use more electricity in winter months related to heating, lighting and being indoors, resulting in higher bills than in the summer. During summer months, people tend to use less electricity in our region, as heating is not necessary, few people run air conditioning, the days are longer and people tend to be outside more often. SDCEA has not raised the energy charge to consumers since 2017.
6. The Service Availability Charge is the charge for costs incurred at SDCEA to distribute power to your home or business. These distribution services include materials such as power poles, transformers, and other infrastructure necessary to deliver power to your home or business and the ongoing maintenance and replacement costs of that equipment. This charge also includes administrative costs such as software to manage the electric system, billing costs, and staff costs. Although SDCEA’s costs in this category have risen dramatically over the past few years, much like the costs of other consumer items and building materials, this charge has not increased since 2017.
7. Implemented in 2021, the Wildfire Mitigation Rider is a flat fee that is in effect for the next few years, as SDCEA works to clear our electric system of vegetation near poles and lines that could ignite and potentially cause a catastrophic wildfire in the region. Proceeds from this fee do not go into SDCEA’s general fund and cannot be used for anything other than wildfire mitigation.
8. Here you see an Energy Star Credit. This consumer submitted a rebate request for a new Energy Star dishwasher. The request was approved and shows up here as a one-time bill credit. For more information on appliance and other rebates offered by SDCEA and Tri-State, please visit our Save Energy & Money section.
In November of each year, you may see a capital credit refund here. SDCEA is a nonprofit electric cooperative. That means we do not share profits with stockholders. Instead, over time, any excess margins may be returned to you, the owners of the cooperative. At the end of the year, our financial statements show whether revenue exceeded costs and resulted in a positive margin. Margins are used by SDCEA for operating capital and, over time, may be paid back to our members in the form of capital credit refunds when the financial position of the cooperative permits and policy provisions are met.
If you had electric service with SDCEA during a year for which the board of directors has approved the return of capital credits, that amount will be reflected as a bill credit on your November bill.
9. Your bill may also include elective charges for programs you have voluntarily opted into or signed up for, such as your purchase of Green Blocks, which appears here as a Renewable Energy Charge. For more information on this or other renewable energy programs, visit our Save Energy & Money section.
10. If applicable in your location, SDCEA is obligated by law to collect and remit sales taxes owed for the delivery of power. Residents in Buena Vista also pay a franchise fee that is remitted to the town.
11. If you opted to round up your bill up to the nearest dollar to go to the Power of Change charitable giving program, that amount will be applied here as a RoundUp Contribution. SDCEA consumers are welcome to opt-in to this program, which costs less than $12 a year. To sign up, email us and let us know you’d like to participate.
12. Finally, the bill is totaled and the amount due by the due date is highlighted. If you signed up for automatic payments of your bill, the word Autopay appears in red below the amount due. Please remember to keep your account information current with us for autopay to avoid late fees if your payment does not process, i.e., an expired bankcard or bank account number change.
As a member-owned, not-for-profit cooperative, SDCEA constantly reviews our rate structure and services to provide fair charges to our consumers. Over the past 18 months, SDCEA has taken part in a thorough, third-party review of our rate structure. The SDCEA Board of Directors is now reviewing those findings.
Next month, we’ll discuss what the findings may mean to consumers going forward. As always, if you have questions about your bill, please contact our office.