Do you understand how to read your electric bill?

Sue Daugherty
Mar 23, 2010


Ever try to read one?  Ever notice how the names for what you are being charged for change every now and then?    In June 2009, my Ohio Edison bill charged me for this:

·         Customer Charge – What’s that for?

·         Distribution Related Component charge —  Huh???

·         Cost Recovery Charges?  —  Double huhh?

·         And the best is for last… “Bypassable Generation & Transmission Related Component charge”  —  Oh yeah, clear as mud! 


Now if you looked at August 2008 – September 2008’s Ohio Edison Bill you’ll see that what you are paying for is quite different:

·         Customer charge — That’s still there

·         Deliver Charge — That’s gone… I wonder if that’s part of the “Distribution Related Component Charge” —  Confuse us enough…. And we’re sure not to ask any questions

·         Transition Charge — Hummmmmm , sounds harmless.  (I think?)

·         Generation Related Component charge — I wonder if that is some relation to the “Distribution Related Component” charge …. Maybe it’s a sister or something.

·         Transmission Related Component —  Now what’s the difference between a transition and a transmission?  On my August 08 bill…  about $3.70.

·         Generation Shopping Credit  —  Now I really like this line item in my Ohio Edison Invoice.   It implies that I can “shop” around for competitive prices in electric, when in reality the only place I can buy a regulated source of electricity is from First Energy (DBA Ohio Edison).    But I gotta tell ya when I look at the bill, this “shopping credit” reduced my bill by $30.82


So here are my questions… What happened to all of the “charges” that were on my bill in 2008? And why aren’t they on my electric bill in 2009?  Should I be paying  a Cost Recovery Charge?  If so, why?


On Oct. 16, Serving Our Seniors is hosting a public forum to help older adults become more savvy consumers, by understanding how to interpret their electric bill.  Jim Williams, a Senior Research Analyst for the Ohio Consumers’ Counsel (the State agency that advocates for residential consumers like you and me) will be coming to Sandusky to keep us from continuing to pay our electric bill based on ignorance.  (What you don’t know, can hurt you.)  The forum is being offered from 10 a.m. – 12 at the Erie County Office Building (downtown) on the third floor. An audience size of 25 or more is required to justify Jim’s travel from Columbus to Sandusky.  Senior citizens who would like to attend should call Serving Our Seniors at 419-624-1856 or send your RSVP or go to our web page and click on the EVENTS, then click on Public Forums & Workshops. 


The room seats 50.  Residents age 60+ will get first dibs on the chairs.  But if we have any empty seats … those of you who fall under the age of 60 are welcome to join in on the fun.   J  Hope to see you there!





Yellow Snow

I'm pretty much irritated by all of this.  I sit with my electric bills for the past year.  It was not that long ago that one of the charges, I believe it was the distribution charge, was due to "poof" go away and expire because we had it covered with our payments in the past.  It would have covered approximaely one-half of my electric bill. As a 55 year old, I was so excited to think my bill would become reasonable.  Now as an all-electric geothermal they've trashed any potential price breaks we ever had.