Winter Energy Bills
In Alberta, the average home uses a lot more natural gas and electricity during the winter. It’s no surprise that the colder it gets, the more energy you need to keep your home comfortable. But there are other reasons why you might see higher bills in winter:
- Demand. You—and your neighbours—use more energy at peak times. In fact, Alberta hit an all-time record for electricity consumption in January 2022. As you may have guessed, cold weather causes a significant increase in energy usage.
- Supply. Decreases in supply can also increase prices. Things like depleted energy storage, reduced production, increased global demand, and unplanned outages can drive prices up for Albertans.
- Distribution & Transmission. All Albertans are required to pay these mandatory taxes and fees on energy bills. The fees collected support the constant growth and maintenance of the network and structures required to distribute energy across all of Alberta. Part of Distribution &Transmission charges are tied to consumption so if you use more energy, these fees go up too.
- Rate Rider. A rate rider is a credit or charge that is temporarily applied to your bill to offset energy costs. This kind of fee isn’t always on your bill, but important to know about in case it does appear on a statement.
- Carbon Tax. Albertans also pay carbon tax for natural gas usage on each bill and this tax is expected to increase every year. Albertans use about 2 or 3 GJ of natural gas in the summer, but closer to 10 or 12 GJ a month in the winter. Most Albertans will receive a rebate on their income tax to offset this amount, but it can be a shock when you see it on your winter statements.
Even though there are a lot of factors influencing your winter energy bills in Alberta, we’ve put together some winter energy-saving tips to help you lower your consumption, and a few things to watch for around your home.
How to read your retail energy bill
The first step in taking control of your energy use is understanding what you pay for. We want to make our retail services as clear, simple and straightforward as we can.
Charges from several different sources are included on the bill your retailer sends you. Here’s an explanation of our invoice, so you can understand exactly what’s included, and where those charges come from.
There must be at least one account holder. You can add or remove another person from your account at any time by calling 1-844-687-2826, sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or using our live web chat. And if you're moving within Alberta, we move with you. Let us know the new address and we'll transfer your current plan to your new location.
Paying your bill
Your bill can be paid via online banking, telephone banking, at the bank, automated bank withdrawal, one-time credit card payment, pre-authorized credit card payments or by sending payment through the mail. You can also sign up for email bill notice by calling 1-844-687-2826 or emailing email@example.com.
Any promotional credits or other discounts will appear on the first page of your statement under the Account Summary and be deducted from your Energy Total. You'll see a CR next to any line that's a credit.
This line shows how many kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity or gigajoules (GJ) of natural gas you used during a specified period of time, multiplied by your plan's energy rate.
ATCO Advantage Plan
Residential customers on the ATCO Advantage plan won’t see a monthly administration fee. They’ll see a flat daily fee to access Alberta’s wholesale energy rates.
This fee covers the costs related to billing for electricity and providing customer service. ATCOenergy’s administration fees support our local Happiness Advisors located right here in Calgary.
You’ll see the total charge for energy used during the billing period. Some billing periods extend over two months, and it will depend on which billing cycle you’re on.
Distribution companies are responsible for getting electricity and natural gas to your home or business. Distribution charges include the cost of maintaining the infrastructure needed to provide you with safe and reliable energy when you need it.
Your distributor is determined by where you live in Alberta. Electricity and natural gas distribution rates are regulated by the Alberta Utilities Commission.
Distribution companies calculate their rates based on the cost of operating the distribution system and delivery of energy to homes and businesses. A portion of these charges is fixed based on the number of days in the billing cycle, while the rest fluctuate based on your consumption. Delivery and distribution charges are approved by the Alberta Utilities Commission.
Municipal Franchise Fee (natural gas)
This fee is set by your municipality as a charge for natural gas facilities on municipal property. Your distributor remits this amount to your local municipality.
Local Access Fee (electricity)
This fee is set by your municipality as a charge for electrical facilities on municipal property. Your distributor remits this amount to your local municipality.
These are temporary credits or charges approved by the Alberta Utilities Commission to adjust for over or under collection of approved costs.
Rural Electrification Association (REA) Charge (electricity)
A monthly charge for recovery of the REA monthly operating and maintenance costs and funding of the REA operating reserve.
This is the latest estimated meter read provided by your distributor.
Last Actual Read
This is the last actual meter read provided by your distributor.
The distributor's total charge to deliver energy to your home or business.
Electricity is produced in large power plants. Transmission lines are the high-voltage wires and towers used to transmit power from the power plants to the local distribution systems. Distribution lines deliver low voltage energy to neighbourhoods so homes and businesses can use it.
Distribution companies are responsible for delivering electricity to your home, measuring your consumption, and sending their charges to retailers to pass on to customers.
Retailers receive your consumption information from the distribution company, and are responsible for your energy rates and billing you on a monthly basis.
Natural gas is drilled from wells and refined at processing plants. High-pressure transmission pipelines transport natural gas to major markets. Low-pressure distribution pipelines deliver natural gas to areas for use by homes and businesses.
Distribution companies are responsible for delivering natural gas to your home, measuring your consumption, and sending their charges to retailers to pass on to customers.
Retailers receive your consumption information from the distribution company and are responsible for your energy rates and billing you on a monthly basis.
Meter Number and Readings
This is the number attached to the meter installed at your premises. Distribution companies do their best to provide actual meter readings on a monthly basis. From time to time, they may be unable to access your meter to get an actual meter reading. If the meter is reading incorrectly, please contact your distribution company. Their number can be found on the back of your energy bill.
Every property in the province of Alberta with an electricity or natural gas meter has a unique site ID number assigned to each meter. The site ID number corresponds to the address at which the meter is located and is used by power companies to keep track of customers and the amount of energy they use.
Your account number is a unique 13-digit numeric identifier that authenticates your identity and enables payment of your bill. You can find this number on the first page of your ATCOenergy bill in the top right corner. If you can't find your account number, please contact our call centre at 1-844-687-2826.