How Your Bill is Calculated

Managing your energy costs begins with understanding  how your bill is calculated. One of the most important factors that affects your bill is the price you pay for a unit of energy

Units of energy defined

A unit of electricity is called a kilowatt hour (kWh)

A kilowatt-hour is a measure of energy equal to the use of one kilowatt for one hour. You are billed based on how much electricity, in kilowatt hours (kWh), you use each month.

A unit of natural gas is a therm

A therm is a measure of energy equal to 100 cubic feet of natural gas and is used to determine your actual natural gas usage. You are billed based on how much natural gas, in therms, you use each month.

Your bill amount changes with your usage

The energy you use in a month is broken up into usage levels.  As you use energy during the month, you move up from one usage level to the next and price you get charged goes up in each level. Usage levels are set by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) and are designed to encourage conservation.

Baseline Allowance

You are allotted a daily baseline allowance and given a set amount of kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity per day and gas therms per day depending upon your service (electricity only or electricity and gas). This set amount for electricity and set amount for gas is determined by various factors. See Factors Affecting Baseline below.

Once your usage exceeds the baseline allowance of electricity or gas your total electric bill or total gas bill becomes progressively higher.

Try our baseline calculator

Where does your energy go?

Did you know that lighting can account for up to 20% of your energy use?  Or that heating and cooling can be up to 50%? 

Take our Home Energy Efficiency Survey to learn how your home uses energy. You'll get tips on making changes that can help you save energy and money.

The information you provide us will not be shared and is only used to determine more ways for you to save. Actual savings may vary.

Take the Home Energy Survey