Inflation and energy prices haven’t hit your power bill — yet

Everything costs more than it used to, or so it seems. But if your power bill has been higher recently, it’s probably more because of how much you’re running your air conditioner. Inflation and volatility in energy prices haven’t really crept into your power bill yet, but they could soon.

Two main costs determine your electric bill: the supply charge, which is influenced by how much the energy costs your power company to provide, and the delivery charge, which covers the infrastructure they use. The delivery charge is regulated by your local public service commission. The supply cost is not.

PEPCO Region President Donna Cooper was asked at an event earlier this summer how recent volatility in other energy sectors, such as gasoline and propane, could affect electricity bills.



“We know that they will be impacted because we have to go out on the market again,” Cooper said, estimating that it would happen at the end of summer. “And really, the interconnection of all these particular systems — it is going to impact that particular cost.”

PEPCO spokesman Ben Armstrong said the company’s long-term contracts have also provided a cushion from some of the volatility that other utilities have struggled with.

Power sources

Who you get your power supply from can also affect how much your supply charge is. If you have an agreement that includes variable pricing with another supplier, you may have already noticed.

PEPCO is required to buy a certain amount of energy from renewable sources, such as solar. Once the company meets that threshold, they look for the sources with the lowest price.

Cooper said the gap between costs for sources such as solar and Tier One renewables, and nonrenewable sources, are starting to shrink, but for now , greener, renewable sources of energy still cost more.

PEPCO also has assistance plans for customers who might struggle to pay their power bills. Here’s the link for D.C. residents and here’s one for those in Maryland.

John Domen

John started working at WTOP in 2016 after having grown up in Maryland listening to the station as a child. While he got his on-air start at small stations in Pennsylvania and Delaware, he's spent most of his career in the D.C. area, having been heard on several local stations before coming to WTOP.

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