What are these charges on my bill?
Your monthly bill consists of a number of different line items. Let's try to sort them out!
Clearwater-Polk uses an Automatic Meter Reading Device to pick up a reading from your meter each month. The readings are downloaded into the billing software on or as close to the last day of the month as possible.
Main meter Kwh charges on residential accounts are billed, for the first 700 at 7.5 cents and for the Kwh over 700 at 6.7 cents. Electric heat meter Kwh are charged depending on what type of electric heat rate you are on. That line is listed as O.P. (Off Peak).
The Facility Charge is made to every electric account, regardless of whether one or one thousand Kwh is used. All electric services require the same amount of equipment to provide your home or business with power. This equipment includes such items as poles, transformers, wire, guy guards, meters, and a number of other items in order to connect to distribution lines. Other necessary expenses to install and maintain your electric service are the costs of digger trucks, bucket trucks, trenchers, right-of-way clearing equipment, etc. along with the cost of fuel and maintenance for these vehicles. Labor, to install new services, maintain existing services, for regular line maintenance, billing, administrative services, and outage calls are costs associated with providing electric service to you. A service that uses little or no Kwh, such as a fencer or a small seasonal service, pays their share of maintenance costs through the facility charge. This charge is not included in the regular cost of power or rates. The Board of Directors reviews the facility charge on a regular basis in an effort to treat every member in the fairest, most equitable way possible. Large utilities may have a smaller facility charge as they have many more services per mile of line who contribute to the fixed costs. For example, Investor-owned utilities average 35 services per mile and collect $62,665 in revenue. Clearwater-Polk averages 3 members per mile of line and collect approximately $4,300.
Off-peak Equipment Charges are made to help recover the costs of extra heat meters, ripple receivers, load management equipment, and for the software and hardware to provide an efficient load management system.
The Power Cost Adjustment (PCA) was enacted in June 2006 to reflect the increases or decreases each month in the cost of purchased power from our wholesale power supplier, Minnkota Power. Instead of having a full rate increase, the power cost adjustment was implemented. A base rate was determined in 2005, which was the average monthly power cost per Kwh for that year. The cost of power, divided by the number of Kwh purchased each month is calculated and deducted from the base rate to determine the PCA multiplication factor. This factor is then taken by the number of main Kwh on your bill. The result is either an increase or decrease (which does really happen) in the Power Cost Adjustment.
The Minnkota Wind Energy Surcharge is a $0.04 per Kwh charge accessed by Minnkota Power to Clearwater-Polk to recover a revenue shortfall that occurred during 2009. In order to comply with mandates from the State of Minnesota that requires 25% of annual electricity sales to come from renewable energy by the year 2025, Minnkota sought to secure the best wind energy sites, access to existing transmission lines and competitively priced wind energy contracts. Due to unforeseen downturns in the economy and significantly lower demand for electricity, Minnkota's contracted wind energy purchases were in excess of the expected market. The intention of selling the excess wind energy for a profit resulted in a 2 cent per Kwh loss. This occurrence caused a $20 million shortfall. All cooperative and municipalities in the Minnkota Power system are assessed the surcharge. It is the intent of Minnkota to be able to recover the shortfall within a year and then discontinue the surcharge. Clearwater-Polk's Board of Directors chose to list the surcharge as a separate line item in order to alert members of the possible repercussion of pending legislative decisions that are being acted on and how this affects you.
Misc Adjustments are made on occasion for corrections to you bill, collection fees, or other items that may be charged.
Operation Round-Up began in 1997. Those members who participate allow their bill to be round up to the nearest dollar. These collected amounts are set up in a trust that is distributed to not-for-profit organizations that apply for donations. These non-profit organizations are groups in Clearwater-Polk's service territory who submit an application to a three member board of directors that meet semi-annually to disburse money from the trust. As of the July of 2012, Clearwater-Polk members have contributed over $258,445 to local non-profit organizations.
Sales Tax is added to all Kwh charges except those that are not taxable. If you are a consumer that should not be charged sales tax, please contact our office and we'll send out a non-taxable form for you to return to us. Electric heat during the months of October 15th to April 15th is not taxable. Separately metered heat accounts automatically alter during these months. If your heat is not separately metered and it is your main source of heat for the cold months, please contact our office to complete the necessary paperwork to change your account to non-taxable for this period.