Understanding Your Orange & Rockland Energy Bill

Reading time: 8 minutes

8 minutes read

Category: Home Utilities
Posted on: 02/22/2019
a woman wearing glasses and holding a pen reviews her bills at the kitchen table

Orange & Rockland are an energy company that caters to New York’s residents. They strive to create a cohesive and comprehensive cost breakdown of energy supply and usage, as well as energy delivery and taxes. The customer service team at Orange & Rockland is also available to answer questions and concerns about energy billing.

If that all sounds like a lot, don’t worry – we’re here to help you. In this article, we’ll teach you how to read and understand your Orange & Rockland energy bill.

“My Bill Seems High” Energy Costs and How to Check Your Bill’s Accuracy

A common concern is that the energy bill is too high.  How can a customer check to see its accuracy? Customers, of course, don’t wish to pay more than necessary, especially on bills. This is why Orange & Rockland made this process as easy to address as possible. If you feel as if your energy bill is too high, simply take a picture of your meter and email to them. 

The bar chart on your bill reflects the usage for the past 13-months. It’s essential that you think back as to what the weather conditions were during these months. Weather can dictate spikes and decreases in certain bills.

For example, did Middletown get hit with a cold snap that could have resulted in cranking the heat? Were you home more during the past month and therefore used more energy? Was Middletown slammed with a storm, but the adverse weather skidded past Goshen? All of these factors can contribute to energy usage peaking in your billing cycle.

It’s tempting to compare your house to that of your neighbor’s. Yes, both homes are seemingly identical, but remember, there are many factors that contribute to an energy bill. Your neighbor could be on a completely different service rate, have different windows and insulation levels, and there’s also the question of appliances - how new they are and what condition they ‘re in. However, the most important factor to keep in mind is the fact that everyone has vastly different lifestyles and habits, even if family size is the same.

For accurate, real-time pricing, Orange & Rockland customers can take advantage of the site’s New York Mandatory Real Time Pricing calculations.

Learning how to read your meter will also be a helpful tool in determining if your bill is accurate. Naturally, the meter will be higher than the numbers listed on the bill itself because you’ll have utilized more energy since the last meter reading. 

The Demand Charge and Demand Meter

Regardless as to whether you’re a commercial or industrial customer, all energy bills have an energy charge and a demand charge listed on the paperwork. The difference between the two charges is that the energy charge reflects the amount of electricity used by you, whereas the demand charge is the rate at which you consume electricity.

The demand charge is measured by the demand meter, which records the energy consumed by your household in kilowatt-hours, as well as the demand of energy for every fifteen-minute interval, thus reflected on and billed to your statement.

Customers, both industrial and commercial must pay the demand charges. The driving reasons behind the charge are the fact that these types of customers have much higher demands for electricity. More expensive, heavy-duty equipment is required to supply the power and meet the demands of electricity for these establishments. 

The demand charge covers Orange & Rockland’s costs to maintain the equipment provided to run and maintain the service, ensuring that it’s both safe and reliable.

Reading Your Bill and Understanding the Charges

You’ll see the varying breakdowns of charges and costs on your Orange & Rockland energy bill, which at first can appear overwhelming, but navigating through the charges will help identify how and where they are derived from. There are numerous charges, but some listed may not be applicable to your unique bill. For questions regarding your charges, feel free to reach out to customer service at Orange & Rockland.

First, there’s the basic service charge. As the name suggests, this is the cost of metering for our Middletown residential customers, billing, and any other customer services provided. Depending on your energy usage, the charge may be a minimum usage cost that is billed regardless as to whether your home is using energy or not. There’s a separately listed metering charge for nonresidential customers only, which reflects the costs behind metering, meter reading and data management.

In the same vein, the delivery charge is the cost of delivering energy. This charge applies to both residential customers and commercial businesses. For customers of Rockland Electric, this charge may be listed as distribution and transmission charges. Customers of Rockland Electric will also be subject to the transition bond charge, which accommodates whatever costs needed to serve in a regulated environment. 

There’s also the basic generation service charge, which compensates the costs from open-market purchases of electricity for customers without another energy supplier.

Orange & Rockland nonretail access gas and electric customers have two unique charges that appear in each billing cycle. The billing charge is implemented to cover costs of invoicing bills, call centers and customer payments. The merchant function charge is established for the costs of storing and purchasing natural gas and electricity. Also, the costs incurred for past due and crediting duties.

The energy cost adjustment may appear on your bill as well. This cost adjustment recognizes and recovers Orange & Rockland and Rockland Electric Company’s purchase agreements. Similarly, the system benefits charge, or SBC/RPS, adjusts costs in relation to mandated energy efficiency, low-income housing and assistance programs, and environmental conservation.

On your bill, you will also be subject to governmental, state, and local taxes. This could include state income tax, any village taxes that could be imposed from Middletown or elsewhere, the Gross Receipts Tax, or a GIP tax, which is the New York State Gas Import Tax applied to all natural gas imported to the state.

For Orange & Rockland customers, the energy bill will display a gas supply charge, which is attributed to the monthly costs the company pays for the purchase of gas, and alternatively, the gas balancing charge accounts for the difference between amount of gas provided by an additional gas supplier and the actual usage of that gas during the billing cycle.

For PCL&P customers only, charges such as gas cost rate and state tax adjustment surcharge may appear on the energy bill. The gas cost rate adjusts charges derived from the ever-changing cost of fuel by multiplying the rate by the amount of energy actually used. The state tax adjustment surcharge similarly adjusts costs due to the fluctuating electric and gas rates in Pennsylvania state taxes.

For Further Questions on Your Energy Bill

If you still have unanswered questions regarding your Orange & Rockland energy bill, call, write or email the customer service center. If you want to know more about deregulated energy, check out Finance Guru’s guide!

Finance Guru

Finance Guru