What is the power cost adjustment (PCA) on my electric bill?

Co-op members may see a PCA charge or credit on your electric bill as the cost of power on the energy market goes up or down. See Q&As and video for details.

Co-op members may see a power cost adjustment (PCA) on electric bills. A PCA is either a charge or credit.

A PCA charge covers the higher cost of power.  A PCA credit is applied when the power supply market is favorable.

A PCA helps manage the fluctuating (increasing or decreasing) costs to purchase power. Members may see a PCA credit or charge on electric bills, depending on the wholesale power market.

When the cost to purchase power in our regional energy market is significantly more or less than anticipated, our wholesale power provider, Dairyland Power Cooperative, passes the difference to Polk-Burnett, and we pass a charge or credit to our members. (Read more about MISO regional energy market below.)

As a co-op, our rates are designed to reflect actual costs.

We provide transparency on electric bills with a PCA, so our members know what you are paying for.

Members receive a PCA credit or charge based on the actual amount of energy used during a billing cycle.

For example:

The PCA credit on April 2023 electric bills is $.0062 per kilowatt-hour (kWh) used in April 2023. This is a credit of $6.20 for the average Polk-Burnett member using 1,000 kWh per month.

The PCA charge on July 2022 electric bills was just under one-half of one cent ($0.0047147) per kilowatt-hour (kWh) used in July 2022. This was an increase of $4.71 for the average Polk-Burnett member using 1,000 kWh per month.

The PCA charge on November 2022 electric bills is just over one cent ($.012485) per kWh of power used in November 2022. This is an increase of $12.49 for the average Polk-Burnett member using 1,000 kWh per month.

Watch your monthly electric bills for a PCA.

1. The wholesale energy market is volatile. Natural gas spiked in 2022 and coal prices were also high. As the cost for electricity moves up or down, Polk-Burnett's power provider, Dairyland Power Cooperative, reacts with power cost adjustments, which are passed through to members.

2. Transmission lines that move renewable energy from where it is generated to where it is needed are congested. This raises energy market prices.

3. In the fall and spring, electricity needed by consumers is lower and power plants use this time to conduct much needed maintenance before winter and summer peak seasons. These scheduled outages for maintenance lower the power supply, which increase prices on the energy market. 

Yes. As the wholesale cost of power fluctuates with supply chain, high demand and inflation challenges, Polk-Burnett members are seeing—and will continue to see—more frequent power cost adjustments on their electric bills—either as a charge or a credit.

Beat the Peak: Enroll to receive Peak Alerts by phone, email or text asking you to conserve when regional demand and costs are high on the hottest days of summer and the coldest days of winter. 

Reducing peak demand helps reduce the wholesale price Polk-Burnett pays for electricity—and PCAs, which helps hold your rate steady and reduces the need for power generation, which cuts carbon.

Cut costs and carbon! Every little bit helps:

> Reduce electricity during peak periods.
> Raise your thermostat 4 degrees in the summer, lower it in the winter.
> Wash laundry and dishes before or after peak periods.
> Shut off lights and electronics when not in use.
> Use solar powered clothes line to dry clothes.
> Use grill or microwave for cooking, instead of oven and stove in the summer.
> Avoid watering outside and running your well during peak times.
> Check for air leaks and caulk around doors, windows and wherever pipes and wires enter your house.
> Do the Summer Shift: Reduce electricity when demand and cost are highest across the region, summer weekdays, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Thank you!

Lower your electric bill
Visit our energy savers webpage or give us a call. Our member services representatives are here to assist with billing questions and high electric bills M-F, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., 800-421-0283.

Wisconsin Energy Assistance
Your household may be eligible for the Wisconsin Home Energy Assistance Program, based on income and size. For help paying your electric bill, contact West CAP, 715-265-4271.

Polk-Burnett does not own power plants or generate its own electricity. We are a distribution cooperative that purchases wholesale power from Dairyland Power Cooperative, a generation and transmission (G&T) cooperative in La Crosse, Wis.

As a G&T, Dairyland sells the power it generates, and purchases the power it needs for members through MISO, the Midcontinent Independent System Operator.

MISO is the regional authority that manages the electric grid for 15 states, including Wisconsin, and Manitoba Canada. It was created in 1998 and is one of seven regional transmission organizations (RTOs) in the U.S. See energy market display with demand and pricing on MISO's website.