How to Read Your Texas Electricity Bill

All of the fees and line items on an electricity bill can be confusing.  Here we will look at some of the items you may find in your bill and take a look at a couple of sample electric bills from electric companies in Texas.

Here are some items you may find on your electric bill.  Depending on where you live within Texas and who your electricity provider is, you will not likely see all of these items on your bill.   The electricity facts label for your plan should spell out the charges that are related directly to your electricity plan.  Some of the items such as taxes will not be addressed directly in the electricity fact label.

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Amount Due

We’ll start with the obvious.  This is the item most people naturally focus on.  This is what you must pay for the month when all of the charges and fees are added up.  If you are lucky, it will just contain the amount of your current bill.  If you are behind in payments, however, the amount due will consist of your current bill plus any overdue amounts plus any late fees.   If you are currently in a deferred payment plan the amount will reflect any deferred payments along with the amount due for the current month.

Current Due

This amount reflects the charges incurred during the current billing period.  As discussed above, this amount can be different that the Amount Due.  The two can also differ if you are in an average billing program.  In this case, the current due could be larger or smaller than the amount due.

Base Charge

Many electric companies charge a flat monthly amount regardless of how much electricity you use.  $9.95 per month is a common amount.  But the amount could be very different depending on the terms of your electricity plan.  For some plans, the base charge only applies if you use below a certain amount of electricity.  This amounts to essentially a minimum usage fee.  Though it may not be label as such.

Energy Charge

The is the per kWh cost of your electricity charged by your retail electric provider.  This will likely not be the only per kWh charge on your bill.  TDU delivery charges are typically passed through to customers.  These will be added to the energy charge from your retail electric provider.

Non-Recurring Charges

The are charges occurring from a specific event such as late fees.  To learn what non-recurring charges you may be subject to with your electric company refer to their terms of service document as well as the EFL for your electricity plan.  Below are some of the common non-recurring charges.

  • Late Fees
  • Non-sufficient funds fees
  • Minimum usage fees
  • Agent assist fees

See this page for a more detailed list of common electric company fees.

Changes in Rate

If you are on a fixed rate plan, you will not have to worry about this unless your contract expires.  If you are on a variable rate plan, your rate can change from month to month.  Keep an eye on your bill to know if your rate is changing.

PUC Assessment Fee

This fee funds the operations of the Texas PUC.  It is equal to 1/6th of 1 percent of your pretax energy bill.  If you do not see this fee listed separately it may be bundled in with another charge.

Miscellaneous Gross Receipts Tax Reimbursement

This is a fee assessed on both utilities and retail electricity providers operating in a town with a population greater than 1000.  Depending on where you live, you may or may not see this as a line item on your bill.  It is equal to 1/6th of 1 percent.

Meter Charge

This may also be labeled as a TDSP meter charge or TDU delivery charge.  This is the flat monthly fee charged by the TDU regardless of how much electricity you use.  It will differ depending one who your TDU is.  Who your TDU is depends on what part of the state you live in.  Most electric companies choose to pass this fee through as a separate line item.  Some bundle it in with other charges. Learn how to read your smart meter.

TDU Delivery Charges

These are the per kWh charges the TDU charges every electricity customer in their delivery area.  Just like the TDU meter charge, they are typically passed through to your bill.

Nuclear Decommission Fund Fee

This fee goes into a fund dedicated to eventual decommissioning and clean up of nuclear power plants

Demand Charge

This charge mainly applies to commercial accounts.  This charge is based on not how many kWh are used but rather on how much demand comes from the customer during peak times.

City Sales Tax

This is for collection of sales tax from the city or other local entity authorized to collect sales tax on electric service.

Usage Credit

Bill credit plans give you a credit on your bill for using a certain amount of electricity each month.

Energy Efficiency Cost Recovery Factor

Texas PUC rules allow TDUs to recover the costs of energy efficiency programs under certain circumstances.

Average Price

Every electric company must include on your bill the average price you’ve paid for electricity for the billing cycle.  This price includes all the various fees, add-ons, and pass throughs.

Billing Cycle

The start and end dates for the current bill.  The period should cover roughly a month normally.

Connection Fee

This will appear only on your first bill.  It’s the connection fee your TDU charges for establishing or switching service for your address.

System Benefit Fund

Money collected for the TDUs to cover the cost of programs such as low-income energy assistance and energy efficiency

Hurricane Cost Recovery Factor

Money that goes to your TDU to fund repair from hurricane damage


This is a unique identifier associated with your service address. It’s between 17 numbers long. It stands for electrical service identifier.

Contract Start date

The start date for your current contract. Contract lengths in Texas can range anywhere from 3 to 60 months. 12 months is the most typical. If you are not currently under contract you are probably under a variable rate plan. You should shop for a new electricity plan. You will get price stability and probably a better rate than you are currently paying.

Contract End Date

The end date for your current contract.

Other items you will see on your electric bill include the following:

  • Monthly Usage
  • Invoice Number
  • Account Number
  • PUC # of your REP
  • PUC Contact information
  • Previous Meter Read
  • Current Meter Read
  • Meter Multiplier – Coverts meter unit to kWhs

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Sample Electric Bill Reliant Energy

sample electric bill - reliant energy

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Sample Electric Bill Think Energy

sample electric bill - think energy

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Sample Electric Bill Constellation Energy

sample electric bill - constellation

See more details on this sample bill

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