Tariff & Rate Basics
What you’ll find here:
- How tariff data is organized.
- What tariff data is available on each tab.
- Where to find specific supporting data about a tariff.
Tariff and Rate Categories
To make tariffs easy to find, we categorize both tariffs and their rates. When you need to find a tariff, try using these categories first.
Customer Class - Customer Class categorizes tariffs by who’s eligible: Residential for home customers, General for business customers and Special Use for customers that have to meet a requirement (e.g. Agricultural tariffs).
Tariff Type - Tariff Type defines how the utility assigns users to tariffs. Customers are automatically assigned to Default tariffs, but they can opt for Alternative tariffs. Riders are mandatory rates that are included on multiple tariffs and Optional Extras are optional rates that you can include with eligible tariffs.
Charge Types - Charge Types indicate what measurement is used to determine your billing. Demand (kW) and Consumption (kWh) measure a customer’s electricity usage at peak and over time respectively. Fixed Other charges which include all charges that are not consumption, demand or fixed. These include KVAR, per Lamp charges etc.
Rate Contents - Rate Contents indicates the pricing mechanisms used by the rates. These includes Seasons, Time-of-Use, Tiers, Contracted (for deregulated markets).
On the left, the Summary tab presents the current price in ¢ per kWh for that tariff as well as upcoming rate changes in the next 72 hours behind the toggle link. On the right, Genability Explorer defines what customers are eligible for the tariff (Tariff Applicability) and what type of rates exist in the tariff (Rate Criteria).
Understanding the Rates Grid
Tariffs are comprised of individual rates, grouped together in Rate Groups and split out into Rate bands. In the Rates grid, each Rate Group, Rate and Rate Band get a single line. For each level, we indent to indicate if the label is for a group, rate or band.
For example, a tariff may have a Rate Group of Distribution Charges that contains two Rates - Summer Distribution Charge and Winter Distribution Charge. The Summer Distribution rate could then have two Rate Bands (also called Tiers) to designate different prices for usage above and below 600 kWh.
In the center of each line item are the billing terms for that specific rate, including crucially the Rate Amount. Rate amounts are recorded in $USD (as indicated by the Rate Unit label) and are usually billed monthly (as shown in Charge Period).
A rate amounts are never negative numbers, instead credits to the customer are indicated by the Credit flag. Discounts (or increases) to rate amounts are visibile as a Calculation Factor Calculation Factors are recorded as percentages, which means a 5% discount is recorded as 95.
For rate amounts that change frequently, Genability builds a Schedule to record the frequently changing rate and the time period the rate was effective. This enables us to incorporate rates that change as frequently as every hour.
Distinct from the billing terms are the rate parameters. Rate parameters indicate which part of your customer’s usage is subject to a specific rate. The most common are Seasons and Time of Use which indicate the months or hours that are subject to the rate
Other common rate parameters are Consumption Bands and Demand Bands that indicate the kWh and kW thresholds at which the rate amount changes. Property Bands are also bands, but the unit that indicates when the price changes is something other than kWh or kW. In case where these thresholds (for Consumption, Demand or Property) are determined formulaically, you will see a formula at the Rate level that defines the equation used to determine the bands
The final column displays Applicability parameters for that rate. When a rate has an applicability, the rate amount they pay depends on their circumstance (e.g. Single Phase or Three Phase power, Inside or Outside City Limits). To see a definition of the Applicability Value, click the ? next to the name.
Calculations from Tariffs
You can easily run an ad hoc calculation outside of accounts, by selecting the calculate tab within tariffs. Pick your date range and usage (either kWh value or from a profile) to customize your calculation. To further refine your results, you can specify the Calculation Options that will impact the results of your calculation. You do not need to specify demand as a calculation option if you use a profile for your usage data.
If your calculation is for a complete billing period that spans calendar months, you need to indicate it is a complete billing period. Otherwise all the monthly charges will be calculated within the calendar months then pro-rated by the number of days in each calendar month.
Rate Parameter Definitions
Provides you the complete series of prices for a particular, frequently-changing rate. For most rates we simply display the price and the time period it is effective, but for specific hourly rates from Commonwealth Edison we also capture predicted rates.
Within Genability Explorer, Territory indicates the service area for either a tariff or a rate. On the tariff tab you can view both the list of eligible zip codes and a map that overlays that data over a google map. Red pins indicate a zipcode that is served only by that utility and yellow pins indicate a zip code served my more than one utility.
Utility specific (and sometimes tariff specific) Time of Use period definitions, are available on the Times tab. Time of Use period(s) shown as colored bands against a 24-hour legend. Crucially each period has a day range to indicate not only hours, but the associated days of the week and season.
Exceptions to the Time of Use periods are recorded in Calendars. Static calendars define what dates are included in a specific time-of-use period (e.g. Christmas is off-peak). Other calendars are Dynamic, meaning they change from year to year. These calendars are used for recording Critical Peak Pricing or Peak Day Pricing events that vary in length and change from year to year.
Lastly, the Seasons are available at the bottom. Just like Time-of-Use periods, a utility may have more than one definition of seasons.
Tariff History and Documents
Genability maintains a history of tariff revisions to ensure that when you recreate a bill for your customer, you have access to the rates as they were at the time of the bill. To find previous versions of a tariff visit the History tab for a list of tariff versions, with links to the previous rates.
In addition to historical rates, you can also view the original utility document that the rates where collected from. In some cases, the utility document may contain the entirety of the utility bills. In that case, Genability Explorer provides quick links on the left that allow you to go directly to the section of the document that details the tariff pricing.