Understanding Your Electric Bill
For rates, see our City Code - Chapter 929 for Electric Service. On your electric bill, you’ll notice that charges for electric consumption are broken down into three separate categories:
- Customer Charge
- KWH Charge
- Power Cost Factor (PCA)
What do these categories mean?
- Customer Charge is a fixed fee charged to all customers for using Painesville power. For commercial/industrial customers, this is called Demand Charge.
- KWH Charge is the actual number of kilowatt hours that you consumed multiplied by the rate per KWH. The City of Painesville has a progressive rate structure, so as the number of kilowatt hours you use increases, the rate per kilowatt hour decreases. A detailed explanation of our rates can be found in Section 929 of City Ordinances.
- Power Cost Factor is based on our actual cost to produce or buy the electricity that we deliver to you. The power cost factor is adjusted on a monthly basis and can change due to the market or major events out of Painesville City's control. Once the power cost factor is established it is multiplied by the total number of kilowatt hours that you use. You can find the most up-to-date Power Cost Adjustments on the bottom of this page.
Painesville Electric Q&A
Painesville Electric is a public power entity, which means we run a little differently than a for-profit electric company would. We are community-owned, which means your voice matters. We're not out to make our shareholders profits, we're hear to provide reliable energy to our customers. For more info on Public Power utilities, go to publicpower.org.
- Where does Painesville power come from?
- For over 125 years Painesville generated all the power its customers needed at the coal-fired plant located off Richmond Street in Painesville. As the system expanded and the customer base grew, it became necessary to supplement the electric plant with outside power from the energy market. The market purchases were handled through Painesville’s membership in American Municipal Power, Inc. (AMP), who served as the city’s power broker. AMP is a non-profit, member-based organization serving more than 135 communities in nine states.
- Today, the city buys all its base and intermediate power needs through energy market agreements and participation in power projects. Our portfolio is becoming more diverse to allow for a sustainable source of power for our customers. We still run our coal plant for peaking and demand response needs.
- Why do electric rates look different in the summer vs. the winter?
- Seasonal rates are something that has been part of our rate structure for several decades. This structure covers the market difference in pricing that occurs because of the higher demand for power in the summer (air conditioning) compared to the lower demand in the winter. There is an ability to change this type of rate structure through legislation and has been discussed by Painesville City Council in the past. No formal action has been taken.
- Why do the rates of First Energy or a discount supplier look different than Painesville Electric?
- Painesville Electric is a community-owned, not-for-profit utility. Municipal electric systems are locally-owned and governed. Our crews are local and care about the community they serve. We invest money back into the electric system to maintain and provide reliable service to our customers. Because we are a public power utility, our processes and procedures are made in the light of day at public meetings. We are subject to open meeting requirements and freedom of information requests that allow us to be transparent and honest with our customers. In a municipal electric community like Painesville, the customers effectively own the electric system.
- In contrast, First Energy is a for-profit, investor-owned utility (IOU). Their business model focuses on shareholder returns. Reliability and customer support at the distribution level are not typically the main priority and investments in the system may lack due to priorities of profit. Discount suppliers often sell power without a way to distribute that power. You still need to pay for distribution in order to get the power to your home (meaning you may need to pay for the poles and lines to connect your home). These are short-term focused companies, which means a long-term supply of reliable, sustainable power is not typically their top priority.
- Is there a rate difference between Painesville City residents and Painesville Township residents?
- Yes, there is a rate difference between Painesville City residents and Painesville Township residents, just as there is a rate difference between a resident and industrial customer. We focus on what it costs to provide a service to the customer. Then each customer is charged according to the costs. The difference in rate is a reflection on the costs to us to provide the infrastructure (poles, lines, transformers, wire, etc.) to get to the township or surrounding community and to maintain that infrastructure going forward.
- On top of the above, there is a higher risk with township customers because customers outside of city corporation limits can leave the system. Any costs already incurred would go unrecovered.