I would like to take a moment to explain the city utility bill line by line. The example bill linked above is from the last billing period due August 10th. This bill is for a 2,000+ sq. ft. brick house built in the 80's with good insulation, double pane energy efficient windows, running one central a/c unit and the temperature is set between 72-74 degrees during the day and 69 at night. This is just to give you an idea for comparison, even though every house is different when it comes to energy/utility usage.
Service Period – at the top of every bill you will see a service period. This is the time period documenting your usage and what you are being billed for. Notice on this bill, the service period is 6/9/14 – 7/9/14, so the example bill due in August is actually for usage in June AND July. It just depends on the meter reading cycle for your home.
Electric – this is the amount you pay for the electric you use during the service period. The minimum bill and per kilowatt rate adopted by Council in 2013 for residential users is $10.44/mo. plus $.0354 per kilowatt. In the case of this bill it was $10.44 plus .0354 x 1,218 = $53.56. This revenue goes toward maintenance, personnel, meters, rebuild, etc for the City electric system.
Power Cost – this is the amount you pay toward buying electricity for Tulia. The way the City of Tulia is billed by Xcel (who generates our electricity) is on a prior monthly basis. So while the service period on this example bill is 6/9/14-7/9/14, the power cost is actually paying for the entire month of June per our contract with Xcel. Power cost is calculated by taking the total bill from Xcel for the prior month and dividing it by the total kilowatt sales to all electric customers for the service period (PCA=WC/S) to come up with a cost factor. Our previous bills from Xcel are as follows: April: $121,596.98, May: $133,737.91, June: $199,899.28. These amounts fluctuate especially in the summer for the cost of buying power, which is why you see your bill increase as well. The next bill from Xcel will likely be higher as well. So the calculation for this month was $199,899.28/2,895,987=.069026. You take the .069026 and multiply it times your kilowatt usage on the bill to get your amount owed for power cost. So on the example bill, take the 1,218 (usage) x .069026 (power cost factor) = $84.07. This revenue is only used to pay the exact costs to Xcel for purchasing power, it is a simple pass-through with nothing additional added to it.
Water – this is the amount you pay for the water you use. The minimum bill and usage rate adopted by Council in 2013 for residential users is $19.20/mo. which covers up to 2,000 gallons. Then you pay $2.60 per 1,000 gallons additional up to 48,000 gallons and $3.65 per 1,000 gallons additional for all water usage over 50,000 gallons. For example, this bill shows 70 for usage, this means 7,000 gallons. Which would be $19.20 plus $13.00 for the 5,000 additional gallons, which equals the $32.20 on the bill.
Sewer – this is the amount you pay for sewer based on your water use. The minimum bill and usage rate adopted by Council in 2013 for residential users is $18.48 plus $.36 cents per 1,000 gallons (with a max of 20,000 gallons used for the calculation). For example, this bill is based off 7,000 gallons of water. So you take $18.48 plus $2.52 (from 7x.36) which equals the $21.00 amount owed.
Garbage – this is the amount you pay for garbage collection. The minimum single family residential rate adopted by Council in 2013 is $18.20. The Council also adopted a $.90 cents fuel surcharge fee in 2013. For this example bill, that would be the $18.20 plus $.90 = $19.10
Garbage – the second amount you pay is a $2.00 landfill maintenance and equipment fee dedicated for that use. This was adopted by Council in 2013.
Sales Tax – standard sales tax charge for services.
I hope this post helps clarify some of the concerns you may have on your bill and explains how things are calculated and where the rates come from. The City also does not fall under the Public Utility Commission. We are regulated by the City Council and the ordinances/rates they adopt. There is also occasionally human error when reading meters. If an employee cannot access the meter, they will try and read it with binoculars, which can make it difficult. If you feel that an error may have taken place, please call the City at 806-995-3547 for a re-read.
Sincerely, City Manager