Our electric rate consists of two charges on your monthly bill: Wholesale Power Cost and VEC residential service, which includes a monthly minimum fee.
Ensuring our members are accurately billed for the energy they use is as important as providing safe, reliable electric service. Accurate bills start with the electric meter.
Meters measure how many kilowatt hours, the unit of measurement for electricity, members use. VEC's meters are able to record energy use in hourly increments.VEC uses AMI (advanced metering infrastructure) meters, which are read automatically and remotely each day.
The meter reads then flow into VEC's meter data management system that processes them, then sends them to our website, where our members can access their account information 24 hours a day, 365 days a year via our powerMINDER. The data also goes to our billing system, which generates each members’ bill on a monthly basis.
VEC is a distribution cooperative, which means it purchases power wholesale from another entity, then distributes that power to its members. VEC buys the bulk of its power from the South Texas Electric Cooperative (STEC). The PCRF is the part of your electric bill that directly reflects the fluctuating cost of generating power.
Whenever you see the PCRF charge go up or down, it means VEC is modifying it in order to purchase the power needed to provide electricity to all of its members.
Part of VEC's rate is used to recover a set amount of its power cost, or electric generation. As the cost of purchasing power rises above that set amount, VEC adjusts the PCRF in order to recover the additional cost. So, our rate doesn't change — the PCRF does.
It's much like the cost of your car — your monthly car payment stays the same, but as gasoline prices at the pump change, so does the cost to use your car.
The main advantage to having a PCRF that's responsive to fuel prices is that whenever fuel costs fall, VEC members aren't stuck with a higher PCRF because it falls, too.
Investor-owned utilities can only adjust their rates for fuel cost fluctuations twice a year, and only with the approval of the Texas Public Utility Commission.
As a member-owned electric cooperative governed by an elected Board of Directors and not regulated by the Public Utility Commission, VEC can modify the PCRF whenever the need arises in response to fuel prices. VEC definitely isn't alone in dealing with increased fuel costs; almost every electric company across the country faces the same issue. Demand for energy grows annually.
You can help curb the impact of high-energy prices by working to conserve energy within your home or business. Take a look at some energy- and money-saving tips.