energy bills

Understanding true-up bills

March 2, 2021 | 3min read

What is a true-up bill? A true-up bill reconciles your actual energy usage over a 12-month term to determine whether you have earned net metering credits, or if you owe for some of your energy usage. You may get a true-up bill after every 12 months your system is in operation because your utility company can’t track the total power your system produces during the day when your home is powered by the sun. Because of that, the utility company has to total up the amount of power you used from the grid and the total amount of power your home supplied to the grid monthly. After 12 months, the total amount of energy credits you get from net metering are subtracted from the total amount of power you use from the grid. 

How the true-up bill is calculated

You will want to track both your net metering and your electricity usage from the grid closely. If you use a lot more power than you supply, you’ll end up owing the utility company money when you get your true-up bill.

On your utility bill every month, you’ll see a section that provides your net metering statement. It will show you how much power your solar sent to the grid, and net consumption of power that your home used for that month. Keep in mind that you aren’t being billed for any net energy consumption shown in the net metering statement in that month’s bill. You get billed for that net usage in your true-up bill. You also get billed a monthly charge for being connected to the grid.

Keep track of your monthly net metering to keep track of your true-up bill

A smart way to manage your true-up bill is to keep a spreadsheet of your monthly net consumption and your monthly net metering credits. If you are on time-of-use billing, it is important to note when you send electricity to the grid (during the day) and to calculate its value based on the daytime rate for your plan. The same goes for any net energy usage. Note how much power was used and when it was used. Calculate the cost of that power based on the rate in your plan during the time of day (most likely in the evening) that the power was consumed.

Sample of net metering tracking worksheet (6 months shown)

MonthEnergy charges or credits

In this hypothetical example, the home had higher net usage from Jan to Feb resulting in a charge of $35.00 (remember, you weren’t billed for this). From March to June, the home had higher net metering, resulting in a credit of $39.00. Thus this home would be $4.00 ahead.

Plan to keep track of this information for a full 12 months. If you see that your total shows that you owe at the end of every month, you’ll need to be prepared to pay that total amount when your true-up bill arrives. 

Home batteries can cut your true-up bill

If you find that your home has to use a lot of power at night, and that’s resulting in high net energy usage at the end of the month, home batteries can help. The evening hours are when the highest rates are charged. You can power your home from electricity generated by your solar system and stored in the batteries to reduce your usage during those peak rate hours.

Freedom Forever carries and installs home batteries

If you decide you want to look into batteries, give us a call. We will connect you with one of our family of independent authorized dealers who will discuss your options with you. Depending on which state you live in, there may be incentives available for home batteries.

Ready to go solar? Call us at 800-685-1850 or click below to get started