Understanding how to read your electricity bill in Texas is easier said than done. Besides the main $/kWh rate, you may find other kinds of charges listed on the same bill.
Understanding your Texas electricity bill can help you ensure that you’re being charged fairly. We’ll explain how to read your energy bill and some of the most common charges you’ll find on it.
4 Steps on How to Read Your Electricity Bill
Your electric bill will look different depending on the electric company you choose. However, there are four main sections that will likely appear on any electricity bill regardless of who your light company is.
Here is a brief guide of the four main sections in your electricity bill and how to read them.
1. Verify the Account Details and Customer Information
Verify the bill is yours by locating the account details section of the bill. This section includes the following:
Every paying customer has an account number in their invoice. Very likely, your electricity provider uses this number as your customer ID. It helps them track your information and provide customer support.
Your bill might show two addresses. The first one is the service address where you receive power. The second address is the mailing address for your bill. It is possible that the two addresses are the same, but they can also be different.
Just make sure that they are correct to ensure that the bill is yours. Also, that you’re receiving your bills on time.
ESI ID Number also called ESI ID or ESID
this is an acronym that means “Electric Service Identifier”. The ESID identifies your home address or business for which electricity service is being provided uniquely on the Texas electricity grid.
ESID numbers tend to be permanent for a given residential or business address. ESID numbers normally don’t change regardless of potential changes in the electric meter. But unlike meter numbers, ESID numbers don’t appear on the meters. However, both meter numbers and ESID numbers can be found on the electricity bills.
2. Understand How your electricity bill is calculated and the charges on your electric bill
This is the section that details your charges. Depending on your electricity plan and provider, it can show how your bill is calculated.
Do you feel that you’re paying more than what you should?
It is probably because you’re thinking about advertised energy rates. Retail Electric Providers may bundle all charges associated with your electric service into the price per kWh. They can also separate the charges.
Here are the most common charges that you’ll need to know to read your electricity bill:
This is the calculated multiplying the electricity consumed during the month. It is expressed in kWh, times the energy rate in your electricity plan.
Energy charge = Electricity consumed (kWh) x Energy rate ($/kWh)
Depending on the type of electricity plan selected, the rate you pay for electricity isn’t the same throughout your contract. This is because rates can change based on your usage. When you shop electricity plans, the electricity rate is quoted for a specific usage. Typically, residential electricity prices are quoted for a power consumption of 1,000 kWh per month.
But be aware, that some electricity prices can increase and even double when your consumption falls below the quoted usage level. Likewise, plans can also have discounts after reaching a certain consumption threshold. This off course impacts your effective electrical charges.
Your electricity company may charge you a recurring fee. This can be a base charge independent your usage.
TDU charge or TDSP Delivery charge
This is the charge from your transmissions and distribution utility. It is related to delivering the electricity that you use from the point where it is generated to your home.
TDU Delivery charge = Electricity consumed (kWh) x delivery rate ($/kWh)
TDU Meter Charge
Your utility company has installed an electricity meter in your home to measure how much electricity is consumed. As a result, the Public Utility Commission (PUC) authorizes this metering charge. Sometimes this is also called a smart meter surcharge.
Sales taxes are charged and collected by multiple taxing authorities including the state, cities and special purpose districts.
This small fee provides funding for the state’s Public Utility Regulatory Act.
Total Current charges
this is the amount you currently owe, for the billing period and includes all the charges listed above. Whether they are shown in detailed or a single charge depending on your type of electricity plan and electric company.
Opening balance or past due balances
This reflects any unpaid amounts due at the time that the bill was generated.
Late payment penalties
These are fees charged if you didn’t pay your bill on time. They depend on the terms and conditions of your electricity contract.
Total Charges or amount due
This is the total amount due
This is the date by which your payment needs to reach your electricity provider. Otherwise, you could incur in late fees and service interruptions.
3. Pay attention to Your Electricity Usage Summary
This section shows the dates for the billing cycle and your electricity usage during that period. Most bills include a comparison of the current month to the last month, shown as kilowatt-hours (kWh) used. This section also includes your meter number.
Your meter number identifies the electricity meter installed in your home. Your meter number can be found in the hardware itself and you can think of it as a serial number.
Over time, your metering device could be changed. This happens if it breaks, has issues or if you install solar panels in your home. In those cases, you might get a new meter installed and it will have a new meter number
Service dates –
Most billing cycles lasts roughly 30 days. Sometimes the billing cycle doesn’t match exactly the calendar month. However, monitoring the variation in energy consumption between billing cycles can be helpful to how your usage changes through the year.
Current and previous reads –
These numbers reflect the electricity consumption reflected in your meter. As reported at the end of the last billing cycle (in kilowatt hours – kWh).
Monthly Electricity usage (kWh) –
This is a key number on your electricity bills. However, it alone doesn’t tell exactly what you’re paying for. Your monthly electricity usage is simply the difference between your home’s electricity meter previous reading and the current reading.
4. Familiarize with your electricity plan details and keep an eye for changes
Unfortunately, not all electricity providers include this section and details in their electric bills. However, these details are super important to understand your electricity bill. So make sure to save your plan information when you enroll.
Retail electricity provider –
This is the name of the light company that sells the electricity that your home consumes
Plan name and duration –
This reflects which light plan you enrolled in. Often, electricity providers add a number in the end of the plan name. This number reflects the contract duration in months.
For example, let’s look at Texas Saver 12. It means that the name of your plan is Texas Saver. The number in the end tells you that the rates offered will last for 12 months.
Electricity plan expiration date –
This date reflects the final day of your current electricity contract. This also identifies when to start shopping for the best deals available in your area. It is an important date that you don’t want to miss.
If you do, you might be automatically rolled out to higher rates by your current provider. To prevent these issues simply set your reminder with EnerWisely and get the lowest rates.
If your plan name changed, your provider might have switched you to another plan.
When electricity plans are about to expire, providers send renewal notices. Some people don’t pay close attention to the details of that letter and believe that their plan will remain unchanged.
However, once your contract expires, providers generally raise your rate camouflaging it as a renewal offer. The reality is that it is an entirely new contract with much higher rates.
Another trick are “holdover” rates. These are the rates that your provider can put you in if you let your contract expire. In this case they will your rate each month, and this can lead to higher bills.
Early termination fees –
when you change electricity plans before your contract expiration date
How to Read Your Electricity Bills FAQ
Common questions asked about how to read your electricity bills are:
What is a KWh?
kWh is short for kilowatt-hour, the standard unit that electric companies use to measure your electricity usage.
How is electricity billed in Texas?
In Texas, electricity consumers are billed by their electricity providers. Customers are charged for both the electricity used (energy charge) and the delivery of the electricity (utility charge).
How Much is Electricity Per Month in Texas?
The average monthly electric bill in Texas is $132.40, according to the latest data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).
From the same report, the average kWh per month in Texas costs $12.11. The average residential Texas electricity consumer uses about 1,094 kWh per month.
Why Do I Have High Electric Bills in Texas After a Storm?
Unfortunately, generators must generate electricity on demand as needed, regardless of the health of the power grid. This means that, at times, demand can outstrip supply and send prices skyrocketing.
What is a Utility Bill?
You won’t receive a bill directly from your utility company in Texas. Your utility company recoups the cost of their services by billing your electric company directly. Your electric company then passes this cost onto you. You’ll see these charges on your electricity bill under “TDU Delivery Charges.”
There are only five utility companies in the state, and they are not in competition with one another.
Instead, each of them owns a monopoly over the region they operate in. In exchange for this lack of competition, the state government regulates the utility companies. In fact, they are the only branch of the Texas electricity market that is still subject to regulation.
How Do I Run a Home Energy Audit to reduce my electricity bills?
OK, now you know how to read your electricity bill in Texas. So, when you have an oddly high bill, do a simple electricity bills audit. Look at your consumption of electricity each month. Then see how much you were charged for it to rule out any mistakes in billing.
While you can shop for electricity rates, delivery charges are the same regardless of the electricity plan that you choose. Both energy charges, and delivery charges are calculated based on the amount of electricity that you consume (kWh)
This is a key reason why energy efficiency is so important to reduce your electricity bills. If you waste electricity, you’re paying not only for the energy wasted itself. You also pay for the cost of delivering that electricity wasted to your home, with taxes on top of it!
If it seems like you’re paying too much for electricity, it may be time to perform an energy efficiency audit. The easy way to do this, is using EnerWisely free online service.
EnerWisely will analyze help you link your electricity meter data and analyze your energy usage history. We use factors like your home’s location, features, size, usage variations, time of use, and appliances. We combine these factors using our intelligent software to generate your free home energy score.
Your home energy score will tell you how energy efficient your home is. It also allows you to compare with others in your area. This virtual home energy efficiency audit is very easy. It is more like a simplified energy quiz and only takes a few minutes.
Most importantly, you will get recommendations to improve. EnerWisely gives you the tools and knowledge to make the most of your money and lower your bills.
Tired of worrying if you’re getting the best price on your electricity bills?
So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed, EnerWisely makes it easy for you. Simply sign up for free. Compare and find the lowest rates available based on effective rates. See the matching score of each electricity plan available considering your consumption. This is an easy way of knowing which plans work for you and which don’t. The higher the matching score, the better a plan is for you.
Let EnerWisely help reduce your electricity bill
We hope our guide helped you understand how to read your electricity bill.
As you might have noticed, your home’s electricity consumption isn’t constant during the entire year. That’s why you might be subject to higher rates and discounts throughout your contract. Unfortunately, most sites to compare power and electricity plans, including power to choose are unable to help you project effective rates. The effective rate includes variations on your energy rate based on the usage changes, TDSP charges, and meter charges.
Still figuring out how to read your electricity bill in Texas? Let EnerWisely take the stress off your shoulders. Using our smart shopping tool to compare and find the an electricity plan that works for you. This way, you will spend less time trying to figure out how to read your electricity bills. Sign up free and start saving money on your electricity bills today.