28 ABRIL 2020
How to Read Your Power Bill: The Rates
Choosing an efficient rate causes consumers to develop efficient behaviors that aid our planet’s transition to sustainable energy.
There are different rate categories to choose from when signing up with a power company: 2.0 A, 2.1 DHS, 3.1 A, etc. The difference between choosing well and choosing poorly is the difference between a reasonable electric bill and an expensive one.
The utility companies and retail energy companies are in charge of getting power to your home or business, and they are also in charge of advising you on what power capacity you need. However, the more you know about the different power capacities these companies offer, the more you’ll be able to assume an active role when it comes time to buy a plan.
There are different types of rates depending on the contracted power capacity, and these rates are meant to be adapted to your personal needs. A family of five living in the same house will need different rates and power capacities than a family of two living in a small apartment. And these same families, depending on their situation, will need to use power at different times of day. Below, we explain the different rate categories there are and how to choose which one is right for you in order to make the most of the electricity you pay for depending on your specific needs.
The rate you pay depends on both the contracted power capacity as well as the supply voltage (we explain the different types of supply voltage in our previous article). Supply voltage can be broken up into two categories: Low and High Voltage.
LOW VOLTAGE – POWER CAPACITY < 10kW
- Rate 2.0 A (1 energy period and 1 capacity period): This is the most common for homes. This type of rate does not have a time-of-use rate, meaning that the price per kWh is the same no matter the time of day or night.
- Rate 2.0 DHA (2 energy periods and 1 capacity period): This type of rate establishes two energy periods with different time-of-use rates. It makes sense for people who are away from home for most of the day and/or use more electricity at night (since power is cheaper at night).
- Rate 2.0 DHS (3 energy periods and 1 capacity period): This rate includes 3 energy periods. It is designed for people who have electric vehicles or second homes. Besides differentiating between different times of day (day/night), it also differentiates between seasonal periods (winter/summer).
LOW VOLTAGE – 10 kW < POWER CAPACITY < 15kW
The rate categories for contracted power capacities between 10kW and 15kW are similar to those mentioned above. The energy periods are the same. The only difference is the power capacity.
- Rate 2.1 A (1 energy period and 1 capacity period)
- Rate 2.1 DHA (2 energy periods and 1 capacity period)
- Rate 2.1 DHS (3 energy periods and 1 capacity period)
LOW VOLTAGE – POWER CAPACITY > 15kW
Rate 3.0 A is for contracted power capacities greater than 15kW.
This rate includes 3 energy periods and 3 capacity periods. The difference between this rate category and the ones we have already mentioned is that different energy periods can have different capacities. In other words, you can assign the power capacity you think you will need depending on the time-of-use period, as long as one of these periods is assigned a power capacity greater than 15kW. This power capacity is mostly used by businesses or industries that need a higher power capacity during one or more time-of-use periods.
HIGH VOLTAGE – POWER CAPACITY < 450kW
- Rate 3.1 A (3 energy periods and 3 capacity periods): There is a significant difference between 3.1 A and 3.0 A, besides the fact that 3.1 A is high voltage. Just as 3.0 A can assign a different capacity to different periods, in this case the assigned power capacities can be different per period, but they must be in ascending order.
HIGH VOLTAGE – POWER CAPACITY > 450kW
- Rate 6.1 A (6 energy periods and 6 capacity periods): Besides having a higher contracted power capacity, this rate category, unlike rate 3.1 A, differentiates between 6 rate energy periods and 6 capacity periods that are spread throughout the year (not all periods apply in any given month). As with rate 3.1 A, power capacity must be assigned in ascending order.
HIGH VOLTAGE – VOLTAGES HIGHER THAN 36 kV
The high-voltage rate categories mentioned above correspond to supply voltages between 1kV and 36kV. If the grid you need to power requires voltages higher than 36kV, there are different rate categories depending on the voltage bracket. The rate categories below only differ from rate 6.1 A in terms of supply voltage.
- Rate 6.2 ( > 36kV and < 72kV )
- Rate 6.3 ( > 72kV and < 145kV )
- Rate 6.4 ( > 145kV )
- Rate 6.5 (International connections)
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