As a member of Citizens Electric Corporation, you might notice the line item that details Service Availability Fee on your bill. This charge, unlike the other portions of your bill, stays the same whether you use zero electricity or thousands of kilowatt-hours (kWh).
Citizens Electric Corporation serves a somewhat diverse membership. Most members use a lot of electricity all year long, while some may use electricity only one or two months out of the year. Whether you use a lot or a little, the cost of getting power to your location remains the same. This is why your bill has two separate charges: service availability to cover basic costs of equipment and personnel to deliver electricity safely and reliably to your home or business and energy per kWh for the actual amount of electricity consumed.
Service availability is a flat fee designed to recover the cost of delivering electricity to all members and has not increased since May 2015. This charge has been shown on CEC bills for over 25 years and is reflective of the investment in poles, wires, transformers and equipment that it takes to provide you with safe, reliable electric service. It also supports fleet, facility and customer service functions, such as line maintenance, restoration of power when outages occur, right-of-way clearing, and general administration. Citizens Electric’s service availability charge is similar to service or facility charges that other co-ops and utilities charge.
Regardless of how often you flip on the light switch or the television, these costs are part of the bill you pay so electricity is available to you whenever you want it. The service availability charge allows everyone to pay a share of the basic costs in order to have reliable electric service available whenever it’s needed.
If a member uses only one kWh of electricity and another member uses 1,000 kWh, Citizens still incurs approximately the same cost to build the line, maintain the distribution system and deliver electricity to both members. It takes just as much equipment to deliver one kWh as it does 1,000 kWh. This is why the monthly service availability charge is important – it recovers a portion of the cost of delivering electricity fairly, safely, and reliably to all members.