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Frequently Asked Questions

How do I read my billing statement?

Click How to read my bill (PDF) to see a visual layout and description of CEC's monthly billing statement.

Why do I have to pay a deposit?

Capital Electric requires a minimum deposit of $200.00 for all locations that are rented as well as all mobile homes. This includes rented apartments, houses, and businesses and all mobile homes. The deposits are required as a proven measure to protect the general membership from losses associated with rented locations. The deposit will be refunded after one year of good credit history with Capital Electric.  A deposit can be avoided by electing to participate in Capital Electric's prepaid billing program (if available at your service location).

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How is electricity measured?

The watt (W) is a unit of electrical power, which is the rate at which we use energy. A kilowatt (kW) is equal to 1000 watts: kilo is a prefix that means 1000. (Note that k is the normal prefix for kilo, W is the normal abbreviation for Watts and h is the normal abbreviation for hours). A watt-hour (Wh) and a kilowatt-hour (kWh) are units of energy, where 1000 Wh= 1 kWh. The equation relating energy and power is:

Energy = Power x Time

For example, if a 100 W bulb (power) is turned on for 2 hours (time), it will use 200 Wh or 0.2 kWh of energy (energy = power x time).

Most residential and small business customers are billed solely on kWh. Again, kWh stands for Kilowatt-hour and is the industry accepted measure of energy consumption. When Capital Electric brings power to your home, the power line is connected to a meter.As you use electricity, the meter measures the number of kWh that you use.Once a month, a reading is taken from the meter. The prior month reading is subtracted from the current reading to determine the kWh used for the month.

In addition to a monthly kWh charge, many larger consumers (typically businesses) also are billed a demand charge each month.Because larger and more expensive transformers and other equipment must be used to establish enough capacity to serve larger loads, a demand charge is added to help offset these additional costs and "reserve" enough load for the consumer. The "demand" itself is measured at the point in time during the month of the highest kilowatt (kW) throughput that occurs. For each successive billing period, the demand is "reset" and once again taken at the highest throughput point during that period. Once the demand reading is taken for the month, the kW is multiplied by the per kW charge that is associated with the respective rate class that the consumer is on.

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I'm leaving for the winter, do you have a vacation rate?

If you are going to be leaving your residence for an extended period of time we do not change your account to a separate vacation rate but it is still a good idea inform us that you are gone and when you will return. Not only will we be able to forward your mail to your temporary residence, but your Cooperative's employees will also know why there may be sudden changes in electricity consumption. By notifying us when you are gone we are less likely to suspect metering problems with your residence.

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Why is my bill so high?

Your bill is strictly driven by the amount of electricity you consume in the course of a month. To minimize the variance between your bills, you can request to be on balanced billing. To reduce the size of your bill you must reduce the amount of energy you consume. You may also be eligible for one of Capital Electric's special load management heat rates. If you would like to learn how to conserve electricity, click here for helpful energy conservation ideas.

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Why does my bill vary from month to month?


Conditions beyond your control:Changes in living conditions:Appliances:
Seasons of the Year Size of family Additional Appliances
Weather Extremes Visiting Relatives Frost on Refrigerator unit

Number of Days Between Meter Reads

Changes in Living Habits Oven Use for House Heat
Light Variations Vacations Leaking Hot Water Faucet
Defective House Wiring Repairs or Renovations Excessive House Heating
Hired Help Use of Older Appliances
Guests and Entertainment Defective Appliances
Average Age of Family Excessive Use of Hot Water
Children, Including New Babies Clogged Air Filters in Furnace
Spring Cleaning

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How much do you charge per kwh?

Capital Electric offers multiple rates based on specific load types such as residential, commercial, and off peak loads. The best place to look to see how much you are paying per KWH on your particular load is to review the service portion of your bill. If you do not have a current bill to review please feel free to contact us and we would be happy to let you know what your cost per KWH is.

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Why do I get a bill from both you and MDU?

You are most likely receiving a bill from both Capital Electric and Montana Dakota Utilities (MDU) because your home is heated by natural gas. In your particular situation, MDU is the natural gas supplier and Capital Electric is your electric service provider. Visit our energy efficiency section to see how you might be able to heat for less this winter using electricity instead of natural gas or propane.

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How do I disconnect service?

When you know the date that you will no longer require service simply call us and we will set up a service order for the date you request. We generally require a 24 hour notice for service changes.

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How do I sign up for service?

To sign up for service at a new location (regardless of whether you are currently a member or not), you must come into our office, request us to fax you an application, download and and send in a paper application or submit an online membership application. We generally require a 24 hour notice for service changes.

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What is a capital credit?

Each year the Cooperative must allocate margins (which are the excess of revenues over expenses) to each of the members who have paid in revenues in that year. This is done by dividing the Cooperative's total allocated margins by total patronage revenue, and then multiplying the resulting percentage by each member's revenue contribution for the year. Each member's allocated portion is referred to his/her capital credits for the year. See Capital Credits for more detail.

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When do I receive my capital credits?

Capital credits may be returned by either a general retirement or estate retirement, as approved by the Board of Directors, based on the current financial condition of the Cooperative. General retirements are typically made on an annual basis and are paid to the oldest level of capital credits, as recorded.

Heirs or estates of deceased members may file a claim for assignment of accumulated capital credits or choose a current payment based on a discounted present value method.

It is important to understand that allocated capital credits are not liquid cash sitting in a bank account. These funds are a critical form of capitalization to the Cooperative and are used mainly for purchase of distribution plant and payment of long-term debt.

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How do I change my screen resolution to best view this website (1024 x 768)

If you have to scroll to view the pages of our website, it is likely that you screen resolution is not set to 1024 x 768. If you wish to optimize your screen resolution to best view Capital Electric's website, then follow these directions:

If your operating system is Windows Vista then follow these steps:

  1. Click Start, click Control Panel, click Appearance and Personalization, click Personalization, and then click Display Settings.
  2. Under Resolution, move the slider to the resolution of 1024 x 768, and then click Apply.

If your operating system is Windows XP, then follow these steps:

  1. Click Start, click Control Panel, click Appearance and Themes, and then click Display.

  2. On the Settings tab, under Screen resolution, drag the slider to 1024 x 768, and then click Apply.

  3. When prompted to apply the settings, click OK. Your screen will turn black for a moment.

  4. Once your screen resolution changes, you have 15 seconds to confirm the change. Click Yes to confirm the change; click No or do nothing to revert to your previous setting.

If you operating system is Windows 98 or ME, then follow these steps:

  1. Click Start, point to Settings, and then click Control Panel.

  2. In the Control Panel window, click the Display icon, and then click the Settings tab.

  3. In the Screen area, move the slider left or right with your mouse. (Left will give you a lower resolution; right, a higher resolution.) When you've reached the setting of 1024 x 768, click Apply.

  4. The Display Properties dialog box will appear and explain that your monitor may flicker. Click OK ito continue.

  5. If you like the new settings, click Yes to keep your new settings. If you don't, click No and your old settings will return.

4111 State Street North || Bismarck, ND|| Toll-free: 888-223-1513 || Local: 701-223-1513 || Email Capital Electric
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