I’m often asked questions regarding distribution and transmission fees. Customers are frustrated with the cost of distribution and transmission fees that usually are more than the cost of power, but you can get some control over these fees by having a solar PV array installed.
My husband and I met you today at the home reno show in Edmonton. We were talking with you about getting power credits if we installed solar panels and had a surplus of power and how outraged we were at the amount of our bill that is made up of charges other than energy usage.
You mentioned that you would like to see a copy of our power bill.
Attached is our latest power bill. From what I can see, of the $127 bill, about $28 is energy use and the rest is made up of service charges, operating charges and other fees.
I am concerned that even if we were able to generate enough solar power to meet all of our needs in a month, we would still end up paying $80 to $100 per month to North Parkland Power for the priviledge of having their service connected to our home. Am I understanding this correctly?
Thanks in advance for you input on this.
My Reply (with edits)
Of the $127 electricity bill a solar array would reduce the $28 in energy charges. The summer months would see greater reductions than the winter months, but the amount of reduction depends on a number of factors including the size of the solar PV system. Your distribution charges would be reduced with a solar PV system too, but only the variable charges are affected $16 of the $64 on this statement ($48 in fixed charges is higher than what we seen in the City of Edmonton). A portion of the $15 that Fortis charged for transmission would also be reduced.
Using your own power as much as possible, generated from the PV system during the day, will allow you to save on both the energy charges and the variable charges. An example of utilizing your own power would be running your dryer at noon on a summer day. This would result in savings on both the cost of the power and the distribution fees.
Therefore, if 415 kWh is an average amount of energy used in a month and the cost is approximately $127 a solar PV system would reduce the electrical bill a few dollars in the darkest days of winter (November to February). You would see a larger portion reduced in the spring and fall, and the greatest reduction would be seen in May, June, July and August. The electricity bill may actually be reduce to zero in the late summer as the PV array should be producing far more energy than is being used; thus, this extra energy will produce credits that you will begin to use in months with less sun hours. Again, reductions depend on the amount of sunlight hours, the size, and the location of the solar array.