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Understanding your monthly electricity bill from ConEd

Bill & Rates
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David Energy Staff
June 20, 2024
Resource
For Business

Understanding your monthly electricity bill from ConEd

Bill & Rates
No items found.
David Energy Staff
June 20, 2024
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Understanding your monthly ConEd bill

We all know the sinking feeling of opening a surprise bill. Business has been humming along as usual, with no indication that something might have gone wrong. Then the bill lands in your inbox at the end of the month – coming in at double what you expected. What happened?

For ConEd customers, bills can be particularly challenging to decipher, with multiple components and charges that can be confusing. This guide will help you break down and understand each element of your ConEd bill, empowering you to make informed decisions about your energy consumption and expenditures – and saving you from having to pick up the phone to spend hours on hold with a service rep. 

What’s included in Your ConEd Bill?

ConEd bills include several key components that detail your energy usage and charges. Here’s a breakdown of what you can expect to see:

Account Summary:

The first page of your ConEd bill provides an account summary, detailing your balance and payments due. This section includes:

  • Total Amount Due: This represents the total of new charges for the most recent billing period and any outstanding charges from previous periods.
  • Gas and Electricity Charges: ConEd bills typically include both gas and electricity, but for this guide, we’ll focus on the electricity charges.

Key components of your bill

The second page breaks down your charges in detail, and you’ll find electricity in the section at the top. Your ConEd bill separates charges into two main categories: supply charges and delivery charges.

Find the key components of your ConEd bill here

Supply Charges:

These charges are for the actual electricity your business used during the period covered by the bill (you’ll learn that these aren’t the only costs associated with powering your business!). Depending on your individual billing situation, you’ll see some or all of the following charges:

  • Supply: You’re charged for supply based on how much energy you use and a rate per kWh for that usage. You’ll see your consumption in kilowatt-hours (kWh), and your rate in cents/kWh. Depending on your contract, this rate can vary month to month – if your bill is higher than expected, you might want to look here first to see if you’re paying more for power or if your consumption seems higher than normal.
  • Demand Supply: This charge is based on your peak electricity consumption during the billing period, and varies depending on your rate class. We’ll get into the details on demand supply, rate classes and how these fees are determined later in this article.
  • Merchant Function Charge: This fee covers the cost of procuring electricity and is specific to ConEd customers who do not choose an independent supplier.
  • GRT (Gross Receipts Tax): Tax surcharges passed on to the customer by ConEd (and which are only broken out if ConEd is your supplier).
  • Sales Tax: Electricity is taxed at a sales tax rate of 8.875%

If you’ve chosen to use an independent electricity supplier (like us, David Energy!), you’ll see your supplier listed in this section (and if you don’t recognize the supplier, it’s a good first indication you might have fallen victim to a slamming scam). 

Your choice of supplier can also influence which of the above charges actually show up on your bill – for example, GRT and Merchant Function are specific to customers who are using ConEd’s electricity supply. With other suppliers, those get rolled up into their overall rate. 

One of the most important pieces of information in this section is the effective rate – telling you your overall cost per kWh once all charges and fees have been taken into account. This number is particularly helpful if you plan to shop around for a supplier that will bundle everything together, as it gives you a baseline to compare against. 

Delivery Charges:

These charges cover the cost of delivering electricity to your business including infrastructure and operational costs (the poles, wires, maintenance, and everything else it takes to get power from where it’s made, to you). Delivery charges include:

  • Energy & demand delivery: Similar to your supply charges, you pay these fees on the basis of the amount of energy you consume and a rate per kWh or kW. Your supply (in your supply charges), energy delivery (in your delivery charges), and total usage (in the meter reading section) should always have the same number of kWh – it’s how much power your business used, and doesn’t change across these categories. 
  • Basic Service Charge: A fixed fee for maintaining your connection to the grid.
  • Delivery Rate: Based on your total electricity usage.
  • System Benefit Charge: A fee for programs that support new technologies and initiatives related to the energy system. 

Electricity Meter Detail 

At the top of your electricity breakdown, you’ll find your meter reading. This is how the utility knows how much energy you used during your billing period – by checking the meter at your location that monitors your power consumption. 

There are two different types of meter readings: Actual, and estimated.

  • Actual: The energy meter was read directly and this is your true usage.
  • Estimated: Your usage has been estimated based on your previous usage.

You might get a bill with an estimated meter reading if your utility couldn’t get access (physically or digitally) to your meter to get an accurate reading. Typically, this isn’t a problem on the off chance that it happens – your bill will be corrected once the accurate reading is obtained – but if you’re consistently getting bills with estimated readings, you could be paying for more electricity than you’re actually using. You could also be paying for less electricity than you are consuming and be hit with a big bill when the utility gets access to do a reading - which can have a negative impact on your cash flow. 

When you’re seeing estimated meter readings, here’s what to do:

  • Check your meter: Your meter is typically located on the outside of your building, near the main electricity panel. Depending on your meter, it might have dials or a digital display, and you can learn more here about how to understand the numbers on both.
  • Mark your calendar for your meter read date: Your meter is typically read on the same day each month. It’s important to make sure you’re looking at your meter on the right day, so ConEd knows what time frame you’re talking about for your electricity consumption.
  • Submit an updated reading to ConEd: Take photos of your meter on your read date (or within 24 hours of it) and submit it through their online form. From there, they can correct any estimated readings.
  • Contact ConEd: You can also schedule an appointment to have your meter read, or speak with someone about improving meter read accuracy if you’re consistently getting estimated readings (this could be in the case that the meter reader is no longer able to access your meter, and could be a quick fix). 

Understanding Energy vs Demand 

If you have a bill that looks like the one above, you might be wondering – what in the world is energy demand, and why is it so expensive? 

Demand charges have to do with how much energy your business uses at its most power-intensive times: The maximum amount you demand from the grid. This is different than supply charges, which have to do with how much power you use overall. 

The charges for demand are effectively a premium that consumers pay to keep the power delivery infrastructure online – making sure that the grid is able to keep up with the maximum stress customers put on it. The more your peak power demand is, the more expensive it is to serve your business. 

The rate you pay and how your demand is measured is based on your rate class. Your rate class, in turn, is assigned based on how high your peak demand is. Demand can make a big difference on your bill as the rates are typically higher, and very high demand surges could bump up your rate class to a higher rate.

Understanding the difference between consumption and demand

What you see on your bill depends on your unique circumstance. EL2 (small businesses) will typically see demand charged in cents on every kWh they consume during a month, while EL9 (large commercial) will typically see demand charged in dollars based on their highest 30 minutes of usage during the month. To find out what rate class you’re in, scan to the right of “your electricity breakdown” at the top of the section.

Find your rate class at the top of your ConEd bill

What electricity costs you can influence 

Now that you’re familiar with the breakdown of your ConEd bill, let’s get to the more important stuff: What you can do about it and make those costs shrink. 

When it comes to electricity, there’s always two sides to the equation: How much you consume, and how much you’re being charged for it. To start making changes that can reduce your electricity costs, let’s break it down in terms of what you’re already seeing on your bill:

  • On the supply side: The good news is, you have a lot of options here! Because New York has a deregulated electricity market, you’re able to shop around for who supplies your energy and can get a better rate per kWh. Additionally, finding ways to reduce how much electricity your business uses is always an excellent way to lower costs.
  • On the delivery side: Since there’s only one company (ConEd) who runs the poles and wires that bring power to you, they set the delivery rates – there isn’t much you can do about that. But those changes to reduce consumption that we talked about above? When you’re able to use less overall, you’ll pay less on both the supply and delivery sides. And a company like David Energy can help advise on strategies that will be most effective – once you know when peaks are happening, operational changes, like staggering equipment start time, can help even out some of the demand and potentially shave costs.

Better rates are an easy yes, but there are a lot of different formats that can take. When you decide to switch to an alternative supplier for your electricity, you can look for options beyond just one that will give you a cheaper rate, but also choosing the right plan for your business – including choice between a fixed or index rate, contract term, and more. 

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How David Energy can help

It’s true that David Energy is an electricity supplier. But we like to think of ourselves more like a partner – we not only sell electricity to your business, but also help with software, tools, and consultations that make energy effortless and affordable for your business. We work on both sides of the energy equation, helping you pay less and consume less for more effective overall savings and elimination of those energy headaches. 

Here are a few of the ways that David Energy can help your business with electricity: 

Get a better rate and better contract: 

The DE team are not only prepared to help find you a cheaper rate than your current one, we’re also experts who monitor the electricity market and can advise what rate and contract length best suits the needs of your business. Whether it’s fixed or index, bundled or not, we’re here to find the right terms that can save you more.

Lower your consumption:

With our thermostat scheduling and management software, you can find ways to reduce how much electricity your business consumes without sacrificing customer comfort. 

Bill audits: 

Now that you’re prepared to understand your ConEd bill you’re set up for success, but there are still things you might miss. Our team of experts reviews your bill to identify issues – like the estimated meter read we spoke about above, or costly errors like a demand rate class misclassification – and works to get them resolved.  

Tools and strategies for savings: 

Our software offers detailed insights that can help ID specific opportunities, like where peak demand is happening. Then, we can help you identify ways to reduce those demand spikes and shave some costs off the bill – potentially even helping you move into a lower rate class if your demand is consistently reduced over time. All of this is made possible through our software, alongside access to an energy advisor who will customize plans and recommendations based on your business’s unique needs.

A solution that works

We’re confident in our cost-saving solutions because we know they work. David Energy clients have seen strong results from working with us, taking their bills from confusing to clear and bringing their costs down across locations. 

  1. During a bill evaluation for a group of NYC-based quick serve restaurants, we identified that some of their locations were paying above average rates. We confirmed with the client that these rates had not been authorized, and began to look for a better fit. By working with David Energy, they were able to lock in a rate that was 30% lower than what they were paying before – lowering their bills significantly. 
  1. One of our clients is a large and successful coffee chain. Their business is growing – but they noticed that their bills were growing, too. They reached out to their Energy Advisor to see what could be done, and we began working with them to diagnose the problem. Their increasing bills turned out to be a clerical error on the utility side – and with David Energy on their side to help guide the dispute and claims process, our client ended up with a six-figure check back in their pocket.

Ultimately, electricity bills aren’t something that anyone loves dealing with. But by understanding them better, you put the power back in your hands to take action – and by working with a partner like David Energy, can rest assured that your actions are going to lead to impact. 

Meet one of our electricity experts today for a customized bill evaluation and quote to see how much you could save when you switch.

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