Tips on how to understand your energy bill

To keep bills manageable, aim to conserve energy, CPS Energy advises

CPS Energy gives insight on how to understand your energy bill (Pavel Vladychenko

As we adjust to our “new normal” by adapting to virtual events and we spend a large amount of our time at home due to workplace closures and distance learning, it’s important to note that several factors play a role in our energy bills.

High temperatures result in more energy use -- and nearly half the month of July was 100 degrees or higher, according to CPS Energy.

If you’ve been surprised to see the balance of your recent CPS Energy bill, your may be wondering what exactly makes up the total.

Your bill is comprised of more than just fees for the energy you purchased in that given month.

Your CPS Energy bill for electric and natural gas charges includes base rate components, fuel adjustment costs, regulatory adjustment and city services.

CPS Energy has provided several definitions and explanations to help you understand your bill better:

  • Service Availability Charge – This covers the cost of metering and billing for your address. This fee is not based on or impacted by the energy you use.
  • Energy Charge – This recovers the costs for operating power plants and other infrastructure based on the amount of electricity you use. Energy consumption is measured in kilowatt hours (kWh). A kWh is a unit of measure that equals the amount of energy you would use if you kept a 1,000-watt appliance running for an hour. A 100-watt light bulb would use 1 kWh if it was switched on for 10 hours. Your energy charge is the kWh used during the month multiplied by $0.0691 per kilowatt-hour (kWh).
  • Peak Capacity Charge – This is applied June through September when an additional charge of $0.0198 is applied to bills for every kilowatt-hour (kWh) used over 600 kWh. The Peak Capacity Charge covers the higher costs for electricity CPS Energy incurs during summer months when demand for electricity is at its highest.
  • Fuel Adjustment – This is the cost for fuel above the base rate, and it fluctuates monthly based on the prices CPS Energy pays for fuel. Current and 13-month Fuel Adjustment Charge Breakdowns are posted here. Here is what goes into it:
  • Generated Power Costs – Fuel costs associated with CPS Energy’s nuclear, coal and natural gas units.
  • Renewable Power Costs – Renewable energy purchases of wind, solar and landfill gas.
  • Market Power Purchases – Purchases from the open market.
  • Save for Tomorrow Energy Plan (STEP) – Recovers a portion of costs associated with energy-efficiency programs.
  • Regulatory Adjustment – Shows the state-mandated fees and costs associated with the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) grid.

Costs recovered through Regulatory Adjustment factor include:

  • Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) – An administrative fee for managing the flow of electric power to more than 25 million Texas customers, representing about 90% of the state’s electric load.
  • North American Electric Reliability Corporation – Fees charged by this not-for-profit international regulatory authority whose mission is to assure the effective and efficient reduction of risks to the reliability and security of the grid.
  • Expenditures – Associated with ERCOT-wide transmission grid.

City Services – fees collected on behalf of the City of San Antonio (CoSA) which may include:

  • Garbage Collection – This fee only appears on your bill if CoSA is your service provider for garbage pickup.
  • Brush and Environmental Services – The cost associated with brush pick up and disposal.

Since Texas is in some of the hottest months of the year, energy conservation will be necessary for all of the residents in Bexar County if people are aiming to keep their electric bills manageable. Click here to learn how to save energy.

CPS Energy continues to be flexible when working with customers to ensure they are on one of many assistance programs during this time of need. The company has a variety of money-saving and general assistance programs available for customers. To learn more, visit