In order to make the most of Alberta's deregulated electricity market and make an informed decision about your electricity, it is important to understand the different components of your utility bill. Energy supply is not the only part of your bill; transmission, distribution, and administration charges also make up the cost of your electricity. Most of these costs are regulated by the Alberta Utilities Commission (AUC).
Components of Your Bill
Your bill will likely contain the following information:
- Statement date: the date when your bill was generated and/or mailed to you
- Account number: this is the number of your account. You will need to have this on hand when you contact your utility or energy supplier. It is important that the entire number as appears on your bill is to used pay it.
Service address: the address of the site being charged for electricity use
- Previous payment information: details of your payment history and balance from previous bills
- Site number ("Site ID"): this is the number on your account is used to link your address and meter information and to bill your consumption correctly
Meter number: you can find your meter number on the face of your electricity meter
Meter reading: your meter should be read once about once a month, though sometimes reading will be estimated. Your utility will indicate whether the meter readings are actual, estimated, or adjusted.
- Electricity charges: here you will find a breakdown of the cost of the energy you used in the past month. Electricity charges are based on the amount of electricity that you have consumed and the rate that you pay per kWh. You will also find the name and contact information for your energy supplier (either your local utility or a competitive energy retailer)
Administration charge: this covers the costs of billing and customer service. This charge is approved by the AUC if you get your supply from your utility and is expressed either as a daily or monthly charge
- Delivery charges: these are charged by your local utility to recover the costs of delivering your electricity. They include both fixed (charged per day or per month) and variable (based on your energy consumption amounts) charges, and are approved by the AUC. Delivery charges include:
Distribution: this charge allows your utility to build and maintain its low-voltage distribution system
Transmission: this goes towards the operation and maintenance of the high-voltage transmission systems that carry electricity from generating stations to your utility
Balancing Pool Allocation: this covers some of the costs of operating the Balance Pool, the market in which all electricity is bought and sold in Alberta
Rate riders: rate riders are AUC-approved temporary credits/charges that are added to your bill in order to more accurately reflect the true costs of delivery
Local Access Fee: this is charged by your local municipality for the electric utility to use the municipal land for the electric distribution system and/or for the right to be the exclusive distributor for the area. It is not approved by the AUC.
- GST: the total of your bill is subject to GST
Your bill should also include the due date for paying your bill. Late payments are usually subject to a monthly 1.5% interest by utilities.
How will my bill change if I choose an energy marketer for my supply?
Most of the time you will continue to receive your bill from your local utility, who will remain responsible for the delivery of your electricity. Most of your bill will remain unchanged; the main change that you will see to your bill will appear under your electricity charges, where you will find the name and phone number of your energy supplier, and the rate that you pay for your electricity.