First electric bill after solar installation

We just received our bill for the month of November:Nov2012 electricWe generated slightly more power than we used!  The extra 29 kWh will get carried over to December.  Given how much less solar energy we’ve been generating in December (because of reduced sunlight in Dec), we’ll definitely wind up using the credit.

When I received this bill, I was initially a bit perplexed.  I thought our bill would be $0, but instead it was $10.42.  Turns out Duke Energy (and probably all electric companies) charges a “Basic Facilities Charge” of $9.90 / month.  This charge has never been itemized on any of our bills.  Instead, this charge has been added to our monthly electric usage charge.  In essence, it has been hidden or “buried”.

This charge isn’t just levied on people with solar.  Everyone has to pay this monthly charge (if you don’t believe me, check out the rate schedule here: http://www.duke-energy.com/rates/north-carolina.asp).  We are on Residential Service, Energy Star.

Since I didn’t realize this charge was hidden in our monthly bill, I mis-calculated our monthly rate (I had been dividing the cost of the bill by kWh used; and got a rate averaging 12.8¢/kWh).  Turns out, from looking at this rate table, our rate is actually 9.3¢/kWh.

Let’s see what December brings in terms of power generation.  So far, it’s been overcast many more days than sunny.  And winter solstice is December 21.  Once the days increase in length, the power will pick up.