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Knowledge is savings

Understanding Your ConEd Bill: A Detailed Guide for New Yorkers

Peter Shrieve-Don
March 27, 2024

Every month, you get a bill from your electrical company. If you’re a New Yorker, chances are that’s from Con Edison, or ConEd for short. And if you’re like most people, you probably take a cursory glance over it, and as long as the total looks right, well, maybe you let out a sigh first, but afterwards, you pay it. With all the other charges listed on the page though, your bill starts looking more like the surcharges on a concert ticket or a Seamless order than just electricity being delivered to your home. Isn’t that all this is? Electricity? Well, yes. And no. Let’s get into it.

That bill with all the tiny print?

Yes! Your ConEd bill, while comprehensive, isn't exactly the epitome of user-friendly design. The print is small, and the language is packed with industry jargon that can seem daunting at first glance. (What the heck is a kilowatt-hour anyway?) However, with a bit of guidance, you can learn to navigate this document like a pro, turning a source of confusion into a valuable tool for managing your household's energy consumption and costs. By demystifying the various charges and terms, you can understand your bill fully and take informed steps towards energy efficiency and cost savings.

Your bill probably looks something like this:

Supply Charges, Delivery Charges, and Total Usage

At its core, your ConEd bill is structured around two principal components: Supply Charges and Delivery Charges. These sections collectively account for the entirety of your bill, each reflecting different sides of the electricity service provided to you. Understanding the distinction here is essential in not only providing a clear picture of how your energy habits translate into monthly expenses, but how to reduce them. In a pinch, the easiest way to think of them is this: Supply is the cost of the electricity you consume, and delivery is the cost of getting it to you.

One other thing to note is the electric rate and billing period up top. In all likelihood, your bill will probably say Rate: EL1 Residential or Religious, which is the default option for residential Con Edison customers and comes with an $18 monthly basic service charge. In this plan, delivery charges are the same for most of the year, but jump in the summer when you exceed 250 kWh of usage in a month.

Total Usage

Let’s actually start here. Total usage is, well, exactly what it sounds like. This is the primary number that’s going to dictate the costs below. In it, you’ll see three primary parts.

  • New Read - Your usage this month.
  • Prior Read - Your usage last month.
  • Read Diff - How much usage has changed since last month.
  • Total Usage kWh - Exactly what it sounds like—how much electricity was used by your household this month? Here you can see that for my household this month, it was 310kWh. But why the kWh? Well, kWh just stands for kilowatt-hours, which is how energy is measured. A watt is a unit of energy. A kilo-watt is a thousand of those. And a kilowatt-hour is just that measured over time. Think of it like trying to measure the distance you traveled. If you knew the speed you were moving at but not the amount of time you traveled, you can’t actually know how far you went. So a kilowatt is a rate, and a kilowatt-hour is just for how long you used energy at that rate. In short, it’s a measure of your actual energy usage.

Supply Charges

As mentioned, supply charges pertain to the electricity you consume. This section is directly influenced by your usage, making it a critical area to focus on if you're looking to reduce your overall energy costs.

  • Supply: This reflects the cost of the electricity you've used. It's the core of your energy charges, varying directly with your consumption.
  • Merchant Function Charge: This fee encompasses the costs related to the procurement of electricity, a critical behind-the-scenes process that ensures you have reliable access to power.
  • GRT & Other Tax Surcharges: These are government-imposed surcharges and taxes, reflecting a portion of the utility's operational costs passed on to consumers.
  • Sales Tax: Applied to the supply of electricity, this is a standard tax imposed by state and local governments.

Delivery Charges

The delivery charges cover the service of transporting electricity to your home, along with related operational costs.

  • Basic Service Charge: This is a fixed fee that covers the costs of customer service, meter reading, and infrastructure maintenance—essential components of your electricity service.
  • Delivery: This fee is for the actual transportation of electricity to your home, a complex process involving a vast network of infrastructure.
  • System Benefit Charge: Aimed at funding energy efficiency and renewable initiatives, this charge supports broader efforts to enhance the energy grid's sustainability.
  • GRT & Other Tax Surcharges: Additional taxes related to the delivery of electricity, these charges contribute to various state and local fiscal requirements.
  • Sales Tax: Similar to the sales tax on the supply side, this is levied on the delivery services provided by ConEd.


As you can see, while there are many costs associated with the bill, by and large the main contributor is your energy usage. That’s a good thing though. Why? Because that means you have the power (excuse the pun) to do something about it.

So what can I do?

Reduce Your Monthly Usage

Actively reducing your energy consumption is a direct way to influence the Supply charges on your bill. Simple lifestyle adjustments, like being more conscious of your appliance usage and optimizing your home's energy efficiency, can lead to noticeable savings over time. Much, much more on that can be found here.

Sign Up for OhmConnect

This is a big one! ConEd has peak hours. That means you pay more when everyone’s using electricity and pulling from the grid. Think of it like congestion pricing—to incentivize reduced traffic, tolls on roads are higher when there are too many cars on the road. With OhmConnect, you can easily monitor and adjust your energy usage in response to real-time grid demands. By participating in energy-saving events, you can not only reduce your bill but also earn rewards, making it a win-win for both the environment and your bank account.

Understanding is only the beginning

Understanding your ConEd bill is the first step toward taking control of your energy usage and expenses. By breaking down each section and familiarizing yourself with the various charges and rates, you can make more informed decisions that benefit both your household and the broader community. Whether it's through reducing consumption or optimizing your usage during peak times by participating in programs like OhmConnect, there are multiple ways to enhance your energy efficiency and manage your costs effectively. With this knowledge in hand, you're well-equipped to navigate your ConEd bill with confidence and savvy, contributing to a more sustainable and cost-effective energy future in New York City.

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