I’ve been waiting for this day almost as much as I am waiting for sense to discover my washing machine. My first power bill from Georgia Power. Not only is this my first power bill since I purchased Sense, it is also my first full bill under the “Smart Rate” Here is a link to the tariff sheet: https://www.georgiapower.com/content/dam/georgia-power/pdfs/residential-pdfs/residential-rate-plans/TOU-RD-4.pdf
With much excitement, I open my power bill, expecting to see a detailed breakdown of my usage so I can compare it to my Sense logs. Here is what I got:
At first I thought, okay, this is pretty accurate when it came to kWh, Sense had 890, the bill had 860, close enough I figured. But when I did the math, my current service of $82.49 was no where near what I thought it would be. Let me explain first what I was expecting, and then what I discovered upon reading more about the rate (which wasn’t advertised, but I’ll take that up with the power company)
Georgia power markets this rate using the following graphic:
Point 1 in the graphic is about demand, avoid simultaneous use of major appliances. I have no gripe with this. Their peak demand for me was 4.9kW and Sense agrees that there was two different one hour time periods when it was that high. I’ve made some IFTTT automation with regards to my water heater and clothes dryer which should prevent that in the future. So no gripe there.
Point 2 is where the deception is. Georgia power implies I can lower my bill by using less electricity during peak times. And according to their rate sheet, this is true. I pay .009 per kWh off peak, so not even a penny. But, I pay .096 per kWh peak! I was okay with this, and assumed my usage should have been about $9.00, plus the demand charge of $39.01. So, where was the other $43 coming from? Back to the TOU (Smart Rate) sheet.
I missed the fact that there is a basic service charge of 0.32 per day. This is on the standard residential rate also, so it isn’t like there is any funny business, you would just think they would break it out since we pay it every month. And it is only about 10 bucks, so I’m still missing $33.
I start reading all of the extra information on page two of the rate while comparing it to my bill. Each of the lines below comes directly from the tariff:
Environmental Compliance Cost, no that isn’t part of current service, it is a separate line of 11.87.
Nuclear Construction Cost Recovery, no, that isn’t part of current service either, it is separate at 3.50
Demand side management schedule, I understand their math and am cool with it.
Fuel Cost Recovery… …wait what?? “The amount calculated at the above rate will be increased under the provisions of the Company’s effective Municipal Franchise Fee Schedule.”
Ah Ha!! Google, what is georgia fuel cost recovery fee? (since they didn’t put it in the tariff)
So, what this says is that regardless of which residential rate you are on, and regardless of what time of the day you use electricity, (peak or off peak), you will still pay .031440 per kWh in the summertime. And we’ll roll that amount right into your current service line, rather than call it out.
First, it seems odd the electric company is charging me about $9 for what I actually used, and $27 to recover the fuel cost!! Second, there was nothing in the customer facing information saying that your fuel recovery charges will remain the same, only your energy charges are impacted by time of use (TOU).
So, what does it all mean? Did I save money? Well, if I would have just paid the standard residential rates, my usage (JUST USAGE no recovery fees since they are static) my usage would have been $46.47. With Smart Rate, my usage was only $9.00, but the demand charge of 39.01 made the total bill $48.00, so almost a wash, but slightly higher with smart rate.
Bottom line, it looks like reducing the demand factor is the only real way to game this rate. For each kW I can reduce it, I will save $7.90. The peak vs off peak savings is significant, but only if you can control the demand (9.00 vs 46.00)
Well, I hope you enjoyed reading all of this. Knowing now what I know about fuel recovery fees, and how TOU doesn’t seem to factor into them, I’m a little smarter now. (really need to get solar panels)