If your monthly peak hour occurred from 4 to 5 p.m., your bill will list 5 p.m. as the basis for your Peak Charge. This reflects the way our behind-the-scenes metering system measures usage.
SmartHub looks at the same data a little differently. If you want to see the same time period in SmartHub, you would need to look at the 15-minute interval data from 4:00, 4:15, 4:30 and 4:45. Add up those kW readings and you should have something very close to what is shown on your bill, although there will be small differences due to rounding as SmartHub uses two decimal places while our metering system uses three.
For liability and insurance reasons, we do not work on members' equipment. Per Heartland's Rules and Regulations (PDF), Heartland's obligation to supply electric service is completed by supplying electric service at the member's point of delivery (i.e., the meter), and the cooperative "will not be liable for any loss, damage, or injury whatsoever caused by leakage, escape, or loss of electric energy after it has passed the point of delivery, nor for defects in the Member's wiring, appliances, or equipment" (pages 22-23, section 7.C).
Our default Peak Savers rate includes a Peak Charge, which only occurs in the summer months of June, July, August, and September. The purpose of the Peak Charge is to better align what Heartland charges its members with the true cost of energy, which is higher during peak times.
The Peak Charge is calculated at $2 per kW used during the member’s one hour of highest electric usage during the month – but that one hour can only occur between 3 and 8 p.m. on Peak Days that we declare in advance. We do not declare Peak Days on weekends or holidays.
Heartland is an electric distribution cooperative. That means we buy wholesale power and deliver it to our members over our poles and wires.
We try to provide stable pricing for our members, but the reality is the cost of wholesale electricity is different from month to month, day to day, even moment to moment. Factors that affect cost include overall demand on the grid and the price of the fuels used to generate electricity during that time. We don’t know how much we will have to pay for power until we receive our monthly bill from our power supplier, KEPCo.
The Power Cost Adjustment helps us account for that variability and gives us a way to make sure we’re collecting enough revenue to cover our costs from month to month. Some months it might be a credit, and other months it might be a charge. It all just depends on what the wholesale electric market was like during the billing period.
Heartland works hard to keep costs low while ensuring reliable service, but compared to investor-owned or municipal energy providers, we have a bigger electric system to maintain with fewer members to share the cost. A mile of line in a city might serve dozens or even hundreds of meters, but Heartland averages just three meters per mile of line. We also have many miles of line to maintain – around 3,800 miles, in fact – because our members are spread out over a large area.
The Service Availability Charge is the price you pay for instant, on-demand access to power, regardless of how much you actually use. This charge is critical because it covers the fixed costs of providing service to our members, such as the cost of maintaining and operating the distribution system. These costs are incurred regardless of how much electricity a member uses, and a fixed charge ensures these costs are covered even if a customer uses little or no electricity.
This is increasingly important as technologies such as home solar become more widespread. Members with home generation use fewer kWh per month, but because solar and wind are intermittent, these members still need uninterrupted access to electricity from our system. Having an appropriate Service Availability Charge helps us ensure we can maintain our distribution system even if an increasing number of members buy fewer kWh from us.
Calculating bills for 8,000-plus members of an electric cooperative is a costly and time-intensive process. By calculating everyone’s bill at the same time and maintaining a standard due date for all members, we are able to make the process as efficient as possible, which in turn helps us keep rates low.
If you have a security or yard light, a charge for that may appear on your bill, depending on whether you own it or whether it is owned by Heartland.
You may also be charged a monthly fee for a security light or generator transfer switch if you have asked Heartland to install that additional equipment.
Certain situations will lead to service fees being charged, especially in the case of late payments or if power is disconnected due to nonpayment. Heartland’s Temporary Service Minimum Fee is $50. The Meter Test Fee is $35.
Heartland’s Returned Check Charge is $35. The Collection Charge is $50. Heartland’s Cutoff Charge is $50. The After Hours Remote Reconnect Fee is $40, and the After Hours Field Reconnect Fee is $90.
Heartland will charge members for materials furnished and for work done on members’ premises beyond the equipment owned and installed by the cooperative; for trouble calls not occasioned by negligence on the part of the cooperative, and any other work or service requested and authorized by the customer. The cooperative will not charge for replacement or repair of equipment furnished and owned by the cooperative, except when repairs or replacement are caused by negligence or misuse by the customer or the customer’s agents.
For those on our Peak Savers rate (which is the vast majority of our members), the Energy Charge is approximately 10.2 cents per kilowatt hour. (Those on the Time of Use or Time of Use EV rates will have different energy charges at different times of the day.)
The Service Availability Charge is $39 per month and covers fixed costs such as poles, wires, and transformers, as well as our staff members.
The Power Cost Adjustment reflects month-to-month changes in the cost of wholesale electricity.
The Property Tax Adjustment helps us fairly allocate the cost of property taxes.
Through Operation Round Up, consumer-members’ bills are rounded up to the nearest whole dollar and the difference is pooled into a fund for distribution to non-profit organizations that promote the health and well being of eastern Kansans. Heartland consumer-members are opted in by default, but you can contact us at (800) 835-9586 to opt-out.
The Peak Charge (again, only applied to those on our Peak Savers rate) is $2 per kilowatt used during your one hour of highest usage during the month on declared Peak Days. Lower your usage from 3 to 8 p.m. on Peak Days and you can save money on your bill. This charge only occurs in June, July, August and September.
County Taxes are also collected by Heartland and passed on to the county in which you reside.