The truth about electricity rates

SAN ANTONIO - With triple-digit temperatures in the near future, higher A/C bills won't be far behind, which has prompted a question from many KSAT viewers -- Why do the rates increase the more electricity you use?

CPS Energy customer Mike Roberts said his summer bills flirt near the $300 mark, so he keeps an eye on his meter.

"We're always looking for the bill to go up a lot," Roberts said.

It all comes down to kilowatt hours and the key number of 600. For hours up to 600, you pay one rate; if you go higher, you pay a higher rateā€”and most customers go over every month. That higher rate, for the summer months, is called the peak capacity charge.

"The peak capacity charge is specifically for the fact we have to turn on extra power plants in the summer that are not running during the rest of the year," Lisa Lewis of CPS Energy said. "So when everyone turns on their A/C, we turn on power plants."

While the average home in San Antonio uses 1,500 kilowatt hours a summer month, there are people like Eliah Casillas who uses far less.

"Some people laugh at me," Casillas said. "They think I'm kind of ridiculous but I've got small bills."

Her typical summer electric bill is $70.

"I have my thermostat at 80. It's still comfortable. I've got ceiling fans going," she said.

To put the chill on the bills, take simple steps such as keeping the thermostat at 78 degrees while you're home, check the deals on doors and windows and keep windows covered.


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