This comparative review of the pricing and rate structures electric utilities used in 2011 for residential customers in North Carolina includes information from a survey of these utilities. It includes data from all three investor-owned utilities (IOUs) and the majority of municipal utilities and electric cooperatives. Financial operations data is from the North Carolina Treasurer’s Local Government Commission fiscal year 2009-2010 audit report and U.S. Energy Information Agency summary statistics. The review looks at rate structure designs, including base charges, seasonal, consumption, and energy demand rates, as well as 2011 rates, affordability, and financial sustainability.
The utilities’ 2011 rate sheets were collected by a survey, with 96 out of 110 responding (87% response rate). Summaries and statistics were created, including: rate structure demographics, actual charges and rates, percentages of utilities with certain rate structures (e.g. differing warm/cool seasonal rates), and mean charges and rates for the various structures. Using annual median household incomes (MHI) and the rate statistics, the affordability of the rates was calculated from the annual residential electricity bill as a percentage of MHI. Finally, using the LGC audit and the Energy Information Agency’s Residential Energy Consumption Survey, financial sustainability was assessed using the operating margin of the utilities and their combined monthly-equivalent residential bill, as well as the median operating margin as compared to the median bill at 1,000 kWh per month.