Recent PCA Increase
At Wheatland Electric, we strive to be transparent with you, our member-owners, in everything we do; one way we do this is by breaking out the charges on your electric bill:
- Service availability charge—the charge based on what it costs Wheatland to make service available for all members who are in a particular class;
- Electric energy charge—the cost associated with the amount of energy used by you; and
- Power cost adjustment charge (PCA)—the cost passed onto you or the amount credited to your bill when the cost of wholesale power from Sunflower Electric and Mid-Kansas Electric rises above or falls below the normal base rate. The PCA charge is calculated monthly and allows for a more stable rate structure.
You may have noticed that the PCA on your electric bill was higher for the month of June than it has been in the last several months. You may have looked at your bill and wondered, “Why? What’s going on? What changed?”
Many factors can and do affect the cost of power Wheatland purchases from Sunflower Electric each month; which power plants are available for operation, cost of fuel (primarily coal and natural gas), wind speed-which determines how much wind generated power is available, constraints within the transmission system-which prevent free flow of power between regions, temperature and storms.
During the month of June, the Holcomb coal fired power plant was off line for maintenance. With this low-cost power source off line, more power was generated using natural gas units plus additional purchases from the market. Further, less wind generation was available due to the normally lower wind speeds associated with the summer months. To exasperate the situation, there were also constraints within the transmission system which reduced the amount of power which could be imported to the region from other low cost power plants so more power had to be generated using higher cost generating units. This resulted in higher cost power purchases which you then saw in the Power Cost Adjustment on your billing mailed in July. It is not unusual to see higher power costs during the summer months but this increase was larger than normal due to the items described above. Neither Wheatland nor Sunflower profits from an increase in the PCA. By law, the PCA must only cover actual wholesale generation and transmission costs.
As your electric provider, our mission is to supply you with reliable energy and service at a competitive price. Despite the cost drivers caused by external conditions beyond our control, Wheatland’s staff will continue to do everything in their power to keep costs as low as possible.
Wheatland is also committed to helping you manage your energy use. If you haven’t done so yet, visit our website at www.weci.net and sign up for a SmartHub account. With SmartHub you can view your usage down to the hour, see how temperature affects heating and cooling use, compare usage between months and much, much more. For energy-saving tips, please give us a call at 800-762-0436 or visit our website and click on the Education tab.