How to Read Your Spark Energy Residential Electric Bill in Texas (ERCOT)

Thursday January 5, 2012
Posted at 08:49

If you’re a residential Spark Energy customer in Texas, you’ll get a single bill for your electricity directly from us, Spark Energy.

But what do all those charges, fees and line items on your bill mean? It can seem complicated, but we’ve put together a list of terms and definitions below that should make reading and understanding your Spark Energy bill a little easier.

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  1. PUC License Number – Spark Energy’s license number issued by the Public Utility Commission (PUC) of Texas.
  2. Notification Area — Here’s where you’ll find important messages about your Spark Energy service, including changes in your plan and reminders that your contract is about to expire (when you have 60 days left) or that your contract has already expired.
  3. Billing Date — The date that we prepared the bill and sent it to you.
  4. Amount Due by 2:00 PM CST— This is the amount you owe for electric service for the current billing cycle plus any outstanding balance on your account.
  5. Due Date — The date the bill is due.
  6. Amount Due After Due Date — This is the amount you owe for electric service for the current billing cycle, plus a late payment penalty assessed in accordance with Public Utility Commission rules, if you fail to pay your bill by the due date.
  7. Balance Forward — The amount of your previous bill plus any outstanding balance on your account.
  8. Payment Received — The last payment amount made to your Spark Energy account, as of the date the current bill was created.
  9. Total Current Charges — The amount you owe for electric service for the current billing cycle.
  10. Account balance —The total amount due on your account, including the current charges and any previous unpaid balances that have carried over.
  11. ESIID — This is a number that identifies the location of your meter, similar to a street address, and will remain the same if your meter gets upgraded or replaced.
  12. SA or SAO — These letters, usually followed by a number, indicate whether you have a Spark Advantage or Spark Online Advantage residential electric plan. The number indicates the length of the plan contract in months. There may be other letter and number combinations in the future that identify other types of plans.
  13. Contract # — This is the number that we’ve assigned to your contract. If you have any questions about your contract, plan or bill, just have this number handy when you call and we’ll be able to quickly look up all your information.
  14. Invoice # — This number identifies each individual bill that we send to our customers. In case of billing questions, having this number handy will help us quickly find an answer.
  15. Meter — The serial number of the meter installed at your home is listed here. This number will change if your meter gets upgraded or replaced.
  16. Previous Reading — Like the mileage on your car’s odometer, this is the number of kilowatt hours recorded on your electric meter when it was read for your previous bill.
  17. Current Reading — This is the number of kilowatt-hours recorded on your electric meter when it was read for your current bill.
  18. Usage — The total number of kilowatt-hours used from your previous reading to your current reading. This amount of electricity is what you’re charged for on your current bill.
  19. Base Monthly Charge — The base charge that is made each billing cycle without regard to your demand or energy consumption. If you fail to use a certain amount of kilowatt-hours during a billing cycle for some plans, the monthly charge you’re assessed is listed here. If you’re not sure if this charge applies to you, check your contract or give us a call.
  20. Energy Charge — The amount you’re charged for the electricity you used during the current billing cycle, based on your plan.
  21. Advanced Metering Charge — A standard amount charged to all customers for the installation of digital “smart meters” within ERCOT. Smart meters help your utility communicate with the electric grid, pinpoint service outages without you having to call your utility, and can help you better understand how you use electricity in your home.
  22. Sales Tax — A charge by authorized taxing authorities such as the state, city or special purpose districts, sales tax is a tax that all consumers pay on goods and services in the state of Texas. This is no different than the tax you would pay if you bought a soda at a convenience store or a pair of shoes at the mall.
  23. Gross Receipts Tax Reimbursement — A fee assessed to recover the tax levied against retail electric suppliers operating in an incorporated city or town of more than 1,000 people.
  24. Public Utility Commission Assessment Tax — Known formally as the PUC Assessment, this is a fee assessed to recover the statutory fee for administering the Public Utility Regulatory Act.
  25. Total Charges — The total amount owed for the current billing cycle, including electricity use, fees, and taxes.
  26. The average price you paid for electric service this month — The amount you paid per kilowatt hour after adding in the Energy Charge, Advanced Metering Charge, Base Monthly Charge and Public Utility Commission Assessment Tax.
  27. Questions concerning your bill — The contact information for Spark Energy. Contact us for questions about your contract, plan, or billing.
  28. Local Distribution Company — The contact information for your TDU (transmission and distribution utility), or the local company that delivers the electricity to your home or business. Contact them for questions regarding your electric service and to report power outages or equipment that needs servicing or repair, such as poles, wires and transformers.
  29. Bill Payment Assistance Program — This program lets you donate money to help those who are less fortunate than you and who are having a hard time paying their electric bills. The amount you select to donate will be a one-time charge on your next bill only.

We hope this list has helped answer any questions you may have about how to read your Spark Energy bill. If you still have questions about what something on your bill means, please contact customer service toll-free at 888.772.7566.

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