Gastonia Electric Division Frequently Asked Questions - FAQs

 

How will the July 1, 2018 electric rate change affect residential consumers?
The City of Gastonia changed its rate structure effective July 1, 2018, decreasing annual residential electric revenues by nearly a million dollars or 2.8 percent. As a result, residential consumers who average 500+ Kilowatt hours (kWh) per month will see a decrease in their annual electric costs. Most of the savings occur during the summer months (June-October) when the demand for electricity peaks and kWh usage increases.
 
The table below reflects power bills before and after the rate change.
FAQ Electric Table 1
How is the City able to decrease rates?
The City’s cost to provide electricity to the customer has decreased due to changes in federal tax laws and a reduction in power generation costs.
 
Is Gastonia’s electric division regulated?
The electric division is a not-for-profit electric utility owned by the citizens of Gastonia. As such, we are self-regulated and overseen by the Gastonia City Council. Investor-owned utilities, such as Duke Energy Corporation, are regulated by the states in which they operate by commissioners appointed by their respective state legislatures.
 
How does the City of Gastonia determine the price of electricity for electric customers?
Electric rates are determined using cost-of-service studies which analyze the cost of providing electricity. Cost-of-service includes wholesale energy, maintenance, system improvements and reserves to cover unplanned and catastrophic events. Periodic adjustments are made as wholesale rates increase or decrease or other costs rise or fall and are passed through to customers.
 
What are the basic differences among electric utilities?
The three kinds of utilities are distinguished more by their business structure than by the product they sell. They are electric cooperatives, investor-owned utilities and public power systems.
 
A cooperative is owned by its members, and in the case of an electric cooperative, the members are also the consumers. Therefore, all of the owners live in the cooperative's service area. A cooperative operates on a non-profit, cost-of-service basis.

An investor-owned utility (IOU) is owned by stockholders who may or may not be customers and who may or may not live in the service area. The IOU is a for-profit enterprise.
 
A public power system is owned by a city, state or federal government and also operates on a not-for-profit, cost-of-service basis.
 
From whom does the City of Gastonia buy electricity?
Gastonia and 18 other electric municipalities are members of and buy electricity from the North Carolina Municipal Power Agency 1. The agency owns 75% of a nuclear powered generation unit at Catawba Nuclear Station in York, SC, operated by Duke Energy Corporation.
 
What is ElectriCities?
ElectriCities is a membership organization including public power communities in North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia. ElectriCities also provides management services to the state's two municipal power agencies: North Carolina Municipal Power Agency Number 1 and North Carolina Eastern Municipal Power Agency. The City of Gastonia is a member of ElectriCities.
 
How do Gastonia electric customers report a power outage?
Customers can report a power outage on the City’s website at http://www.cityofgastonia.com/i-want-to/report/power-outage.html, by calling 704-866-6823 or on the City’s power outage app, COG-TRU Outages. The app can be downloaded from the Google Play and Apple iOS app stores.
 
Does the City of Gastonia offer energy audits to help customers identify ways to conserve energy?
The city offers audits for all of its customers: residential, commercial and industrial. Contact Gary Lutz at 704-866-6824 or garyl@cityofgastonia.com to schedule an audit.
 
How many electric rate options does the City offer?
The City offers one residential rate option, eight commercial rate options and seven industrial rate options. All of the City’s utility rate schedules are available at http://www.cityofgastonia.com/i-want-to/learn-about/2014-05-08-15-50-30.html.

Other interesting facts about the City of Gastonia’s electric division:
Number of customers and service connections:
      FAQ Electric Table 2
Average daily energy consumption & average cost per kWh:
      FAQ Electric Table 3
The City of Gastonia operates and maintains 12 substations, 489 miles of overhead and underground power lines and 9,759 street lights.
 

The information in this section reflects the data submitted to the Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) Form EIA-861 report for calendar year 2017. The EIA is a division of the US Department of Energy’s (DOE).