Explaining the PCA

You may have occasionally noticed the line-item titled “PCA” on your bills. The Power Cost Adjustment (PCA) reflects the fluctuation of the cost of purchased power from Dairyland Power Cooperative (DPC), PEC’s wholesale power provider. DPC has an obligation to purchase enough power for each of its 24 distribution cooperatives, including Price Electric Cooperative. Power is provided by:

  • DPC owned coal, natural gas, hydro, and biogas power plants
  • Purchased power agreements, where DPC purchases electricity generated by another facility
  • If necessary, purchasing power from the regional grid operator, MISO

Dairyland Power, PEC's wholesale power provider, estimates the amount of power that will be sold into the market, and if costs are greater than or less than their estimated cost, they pass that difference to PEC. In turn, PEC passes that on to you, the members. If the estimated cost was too low, you will see a charge, but if the estimated cost was too high, you will see a credit.

In 2021, PEC had four PCA’s, all of which were in the form of a credit. The PCA’s in 2022 have all been charges.

The PCA changes based on the cost of wholesale power, which fluctuates for a variety of reasons. During summer months when the demand for electricity is high, power may need to be purchased at market price, which includes additional generation costs. Increased costs for fuels like natural gas also impact the price of wholesale power. Other factors include: transmission congestion on the regional grid, limits available energy and extreme weather when power plants are unavailable due to scheduled maintenance.

  • The PCA charge is not the same for all members, it is based on each member's kWh usage. On the October statement, there will be a PCA charge of 1.342 cents ($0.01342) per kilowatt-hour (kWh) used in September. For the average member using 1,000 kWh per month, that would be an extra $13.42 on next month’s bill.
  • The October PCA charge is the result of multiple factors in July and August 2022, including high energy prices in the market, delayed coal deliveries and higher-than-budgeted fuel costs.
  • The October statement's PCA charge is the result of multiple factors in July and August 2022, including high energy prices in the market, delayed coal deliveries and higher-than-budgeted fuel costs. This charge was split--half in October, for September's usage, and half in November, for October's usage. 
  • The PCA charge is not the same for all members, it is based on each member's kWh usage. On the November statement, there will be a PCA charge of 1.276  cents ($0.01276) per kilowatt-hour (kWh) used in October. For the average member using 1,000 kWh per month, that would be an extra $12.76 on next month’s bill.