What is causing high bills, the PCRF explained and how CoServ is different

This year, as summer energy prices and consumer inflation soar, all Texans should expect to pay more per kilowatt-hour for electricity this summer.

Article updated to reflect the current PCRF

As temperatures rise, so does energy consumption and ultimately your utility bills. This year, as summer energy prices and consumer inflation soars, all Texans should expect to pay more per kilowatt-hour for electricity.

And that includes CoServ Members.

As your electric cooperative, aside from providing safe and reliable service, CoServ strives to be a valuable resource for its Members to empower them to save energy and money.

That's why we're launching the CoServ Summer Savings Series to educate our Members about this energy crisis. Look for emails, social media messages and articles packed with information to help educate you about why costs are going up, what you can do to take control of electricity usage and the advantages of being part of an electric co-op.

Natural gas prices drive up power bills

Natural gas prices have increased significantly for a variety of reasons, including the Russian invasion of Ukraine, increased demand for liquified natural gas, the sudden rebound of the economy after the COVID-19 pandemic and fallout from Winter Storm Uri, which led to policy changes in the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) market that impacts wholesale electricity pricing.

The cost of natural gas drives up the price of wholesale electricity, which is then passed through to Members. As an electric cooperative, CoServ passes through the cost of wholesale electricity with no markup or adders - but CoServ Members will still notice higher costs per kilowatt-hour on their bills because of the higher wholesale cost.

CoServ accounts for fluctuations in wholesale electricity prices by adjusting the Power Cost Recovery Factor (PCRF). When electricity prices are lower, the PCRF is a bigger negative number. However, as natural gas prices rise, electricity prices also rise and the PCRF shrinks or becomes a positive number. The PCRF remained negative through March, April and May. However, in June 2022, as natural gas prices surpassed $9 per million British thermal units, the PCRF was positive for the first time since 2009, at $0.015.

For residential Members on CoServ's Standard Rate plan, this is how the PCRF changes affect the current rate:

March 2023

Energy Charge (November–April)

First 700 kWh$0.129402
PLUS/MINUS the PCRF-$0.014
PLUS the SCRF+$0.0057
=$0.121102 per kWh
Next 300 kWh$0.119402
PLUS/MINUS the PCRF-$0.014
PLUS the SCRF+$0.0057
=$0.111102 per kWh
Over 1000 kWh$0.114402
PLUS/MINUS the PCRF-$0.014
PLUS the SCRF+$0.0057
=$0.106102 per kWh

Visit CoServ.com/Rates for more information.

The cooperative advantage

Despite the challenges with energy prices, there are several advantages to being part of an electric co-op.

Visit CoSev.com/Rates and you'll see we have several rate options for our Members. Everything is laid out in clear, easy-to-understand language and if you have questions, our local Customer Care Specialists are available to help. They will work on your behalf to find the rate that works best for you with no tricks or gimmicks.

Our rates don't end after a set period so our Members don't have to shop around every few months to find the best price or worry about the price going up when the contract ends, which is common with for-profit retail electric providers.

CoServ is one of the most reliable utilities in the state, according to our System Average Interruption Daily Index (SAIDI) score. Click here for more information on CoServ's SAIDI score.

CoServ Members are stakeholders in the co-op - there are no shareholders - and they all have the ability to vote on the democratically elected Board of Directors. Visit CoServ.com/Board for more information.

The CoServ Charitable Foundation is also deeply involved in the communities we serve by awarding more than $1 million a year to nonprofits, providing academic initiatives in the 22 area school districts we serve, supporting community initiatives as well as Employee volunteerism. Visit CoServ.com/CCF for more information.

Read more in Part 2 of the Summer Savings Series: Tips and Technology to save Members money this summer.