Electric Bill, What is PCA?

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The monthly electric bill for August arrived the other day. I usually don’t look too close at the bill, other than to see if it is within the expected $80-$120 range. The bill was unusually high this time at $173. I started looking at the bill to see what had changed. The usage was slightly higher than the previous bill (940 Kwh vs 920 Kwh), but the charge was $34 more. I compared the charges line by line with the previous bill. The energy charge was $2 more on the latest bill. This made sense because I had used 20 Kwh more energy. Then I noticed a charge for PCA that was $23 more than the previous month. What the heck is PCA? I looked on the back of the bill for an explanation. PCA stands for Power Cost Adjustment. It is defined as the upward or downward adjustment to reflect variations in the cost of power billed from suppliers. In the last few bills, the charge was $7 for PCA. This month the charge was 300% higher than normal. It was enough of an increase for me to take the time to look closer at it. Can we do anything about it? Not much, other than cutting back on our electrical usage. With ever increasing demand for electricity, the PCA charge will be something to keep an eye on. It is a way for electrical utility providers to pass on additional power cost to the consumer. This is probably how the increased energy cost was passed on to customers in Texas last winter when the temps got below zero for a few weeks. In that case the cost adjustment was much higher. Energy prices went to $9,000 per megawatt-hour for wholesale power. Normally, prices range from about $28 per megawatt-hour to $78 per megawatt-hour. Some customers saw their electric bills increase by thousands of dollars. The State of Texas sued the energy provider and they ended up filing for bankruptcy and with a liquidation plan that waived claims against customers for charges incurred from Feb. 15 through Feb. 19, 2021.

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