Ever stare at your utility bills and wonder if you’re being overcharged? The first step to taking control of your energy usage is understanding the industry. Like anything else, monitoring your facility’s energy use gets easier over time – and can save you money in the long run.

Running a business means you have to budget your time. Before you make any decisions on an energy management strategy, you’ll want to be familiar with your situation and what kind of energy strategy is practical for you.

Do-it-yourself electric bill breakdown:

Key account data

Your company’s account number and payment due date are typically located at the top of every page. It’s smart to keep your account information in a convenient location in case you need to contact your utility or other energy services providers. Generally, customers receive a separate monthly statement for each active account they have.

Rate code

This indicates which rate group your business is in. Your rate code is based on which utility service area you live in and the type of services in which you are enrolled.

Franchise fee

The municipal fee your city charges for bringing utility lines across city property. This can also be listed under “city license fee”.

Energy Cost Adjustment (ECA)

This covers fuel costs over or under what’s estimated and included in base rates. If actual fuel costs are higher, the ECA increases. If actual fuel costs are lower, the ECA decreases. Through the ECA, customers pay only for the actual costs of fuel used to serve them.

Energy Efficiency Rider (EER)

This recovers costs for providing energy efficiency programs. Energy efficiency helps keep rates affordable over time by reducing the amount of electricity needed and delaying the need to build new power plants.

Property Tax Surcharge (PTS)

This accounts for property tax your utility must pay the government, over or under what is already estimated and included in base rates.

Energy charge

The amount billed for the kilowatt hours of electricity your facility used. This is calculated by multiplying your rate by the amount of kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity used.

Customer charge

A fixed monthly charge that covers the operational costs to meter and bill your account and provide customer service. Like most energy rates, this amount is determined by state regulatory commissions.

Here’s three helpful points to remember when considering an energy management strategy for your company:

Empower – Give your team the tools they need to fulfill the goals your company has set for energy management. Programs like demand response can get everyone on board by sharing responsibilities and rewards.

Enable - Make your energy portfolio goals attainable by valuing them differently from other business projects. Remember to factor in the long-term savings that come with many of the up-front investments you’ll have to make in your facility.

Educate - There are great resources online to help you and your team understand the significance of an energy management strategy. Knowledge is power — and with the right tools, your business can become a leader in responsible energy management.

There’s your DIY Friday task for this week. The first step in moving your business into the future is empowering yourself and your team through learning (but of course you already knew that). Taking control of your energy usage means a bright future for your company, and the stability of the electric grid. From everyone at YourEnergyBlog, enjoy your new found knowledge (and your weekend)!

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