Rochester Gas and Electric (RG&E) History
In 1848, local investors established the Rochester Gas Light Company to illuminate the town of Rochester, NY. On December 13, 1848, a large crowd gathered to watch the daughter of the company's pipeline contractor light the town's first gas lamp in an upstairs bedroom. By 1861, the company served nearly 2,500 customers.
When Rochester Electric Light Company formed in 1879 as the city's first electric utility, the company relied on water wheels to turn dynamos at the Genesee River's Lower Falls to generate electricity for the growing city. This powerful resource attracted other big-name competitors. The Brush Electric Light Company set up operation in 1881 followed by Edison Illuminating Company in 1886. Unfortunately, all three companies used different voltages, currents, and wires. And though Edison Electric buried its wires (the first utility to do so) its reliance on DC current limited its service area. Rochester found itself tangled in a web of wires and "darkened by a forest of electric poles." But once the War of the Currents ended with the adoption of AC current as the standard, the three electric companies and the Rochester Gas Light Company consolidated in 1892 to form the Rochester Gas and Electric Company.
While other utility start-ups came to Rochester, few lasted very long. So too seemed the fate of the Central Light & Power Company in 1893. However, an ambitious investor syndicate partly powered by E. W. Clark & Co of Philadelphia (which specialized in street railways and power utilities) took it over in 1903 and renamed it the Rochester Light & Power Company. Months later in 1904, they merged with Rochester Gas & Electric Company, quickly taking over the Rochester Railway Company (the local street railway) in stock deal as well. The new utility became the Rochester Railway & Light Company. It then continued expanding its utility operations throughout the Genesee River Valley and the surrounding counties.
Almost immediately, however, the New York Central Railroad bought up control of the Rochester Railway & Light Company and began snapping up nearly all the state's other trolley and interurban railways. In 1919, the Central merged all of these railways into the New York State Railways Company and transferred all its utility operations to the control of its subsidiary, the Mohawk Valley Company. As a result, the Rochester Railway & Light Company changed its name for the last time to Rochester Gas and Electric Corporation (RG&E ).
When deregulation started in New York in the late 1990s, RG&E was required to sell off all its generation assets and become a distribution-only utility. In 2008, RG&E became part of Iberdrola, USA. In December 2015, Iberdrola USA merged with UIL Holdings to create a new company, AVANGRID
Today, RG&E serves approximately 383,592 electricity customers and 317,661 natural gas customers in central upstate New York. RG&E helps its New York communities by helping the people they serve. In partnership with the Avangrid Foundation, RG&E invests in countless local, regional and national organizations and causes each year.
RG&E Service Territory
RG&E serves approximately 383,592 electricity customers and 317,661 natural gas customers in these central New York Counties:
RG&E serves these cities:
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How to Start New RG&E Service
Getting set up with RG&E is easy and convenient. Just visit the RG&E web site to start your electric service. If you don't have an account, you can start one there and then follow the prompts to set up your service.
Customers can also apply to start service by calling RG&E customer service (1-800-743-2110).
Be ready to supply:
- Service Address: The address where you want your service turned on or switched.
- The start date for electricity service.
- Personal Information: You will need to provide a valid form of identification (such as a driver's license or credit card) to validate your name and prior address. Otherwise, you will need to pay a deposit.
- The utility may also require proof of your occupancy date for service and ask you for a copy of your lease or deed.
Applicants for electric service must have paid in full all bills on their past RG&E accounts or agree to a deferred-payment plan before a new account can be opened. RG&E will notify you by letter within three business days after receiving your application if it has been denied. The letter will state the reason(s) for denial, exactly what you must do to be approved.
Will I Need to Pay a Deposit?
In New York, no utility can require any new residential customer to pay a security deposit as a condition of receiving utility service. The same applies to anyone over 62 year old. Lastly, if you receive public assistance, you will not need to pay a deposit.
However, the utility can require a deposit if:
- You're new seasonal or short-term customer.
- You are applying for a new RG&E account within 60 days of closing an old account and the bill you get once every two months is 50 days overdue, and you have not paid at least one-half of what you owe.
- You were previously disconnected during the past six months.
Note: If you're aged 62 or older or you are receiving public assistance, supplemental security income, or additional state payments then you will not need to pay a deposit.
If you must pay a deposit -- RG&E must notify you in writing within 3 business days about the specific reasons why you are required to pay a security deposit. NY law states that deposits cannot be greater than an estimated two months usage.
Customers have 20 days after the utilty sends the deposity request notification to make a payment. However, customers can pay the full deposit in installments over a 12 month period. RG&E can hold deposits for residential service for 12 months. If the customer pays their bill in full and on time for 12 consecutive months, the deposit will earn interest.
Understand RG&E Delivery and Supply Charges
In New York, residential customers pay for both the cost to deliver their electricity as well as for the amount of electricity supply that they use.
Understand RG&E Zone Charges
New York State is a complicated place to supply and distribute electricity. For the that reason, the New York Independent System Operator (NYISO) operates New York's bulk electricity grid, administers the state's wholesale electricity markets, and provides comprehensive reliability planning for the state's bulk electricity system.
To keep the power flowing smoothly all across New York State, NYSIO has divided it into 11 load zones, labeled A through K.
These load zones directly affect your electricity rates:
- New York electric utilities can operate in more than one load zone.
- For example, RG&E serves Zone B.
- Both supply and delivery rates can be different in each zone. That means the rates you pay for your electricity will depend on which zone you live in.
What Are RG&E PTC Charges?
When deregulation began in New York, all utilities that wanted to participate in consumer choice had to sell off their generators and limit their business to energy delivery. However, the NY PSC requires these utilities to provide electricity supply at a default rate to customers in their service territory who don't shop for a retail supplier. As a result, these utilities must purchase their electricity supply for the default rate from generator companies.
The NY PSC oversees RG&E's default service rates since these represent generation supply costs that are passed directly through the utility onto their customers without mark up. This default rate is also called the "Price to Compare" or PTC.
Price to Compare (PTC)
The PTC default rate represents the actual price (generation + transmission) the utility pays for the electricity. In other words, it not only includes the generator company's price for making the electricity but also the cost to transmit it from power stations over high tension power lines to RG&E's local electrical switch yards. From there, the electricity is distributed throughout the RG&E local electrical grid for delivery to homes.
RG&E's PTC rate is composed of the Supply charge. This rate is based upon market conditions during the billing period and will vary depending on where you live or do business. The RG&E supply charge varies based on forecasted daily market prices. Consequently, the PTC monthly bill rates changes monthly. There are also other charges which include the Merchant Function Charge, the Clean Energy Standard Supply Surcharge, the Electricity Supply Reconciliation Mechanism, and other surcharges that add to the cost.
Because electricity demand fluctuates due to seasonal weather, RG&E's Supply charge rates can also vary seasonally; low some months, higher the next -- especially in summer when air conditioning usage can soar. With the default PTC rate, you can never be too sure what you'll pay from one month to the next.
RG&E Current PTC Standard Residential Rates:
- 6.620 cents per kWh, expires 9/30/2021
How Much Do RG&E Charges Cost?
The US Energy Information Agency reports that in 2019 New York State's residential customers used an average of about 577 kWh each month.
Therefore, an average residential PTC bill in RG&E roughly breaks down like this:
|Rate per 577 kWh Used||Monthly Customer Charge||Total|
|PTC Supply Rate
(excluding MFC and other surcharges)
|Monthly Distribution Charges
(excluding riders and other surcharges)
|$0.049770 per kWh||$21.70||$50.42|
|Total Bill in Zone B||$88.62|
Understand New York Energy Choice
New York electric consumers are free to choose to buy electricity from Energy Service Companies (ESCOs). These alternative suppliers shop deals with different electricity generators on the wholesale market to offer competitive rates. As such, their rates are not controlled by NY PSC nor do they include the same complicated supply surcharges that RG&E does in its monthly PTC rate. This way, ESCOs are able to offer competitively priced fixed rate plans for a variety of term lengths.
Though it can seem confusing, shopping electricity plans is an easy process. The trick is finding the one that meets your needs. That's why retail energy suppliers in New York offer two types of plans:
Your Energy Usage and Your RG&E Bill
While your energy usage habits are unique to you, any upstate New York native will tell you that winters can be bitterly cold upstate and summers can be hot, hazy, and humid. While your biggest energy usage will usually follow the weather, all those other domestic activities, like cooking and cleaning, also add to your monthly bill.
- While most NY homes rely on natural gas for heating, only 12.2% of homes in the state rely on electricity for heat.
- New York residents spend on average 5% of their annual energy costs on air conditioning. About 53% of NY households have window or wall-mounted AC systems while only 20% have central AC.
- Approximately one third (32%) of home electricity usage goes to electronics, lighting, appliances, and air conditioning.
- The remainder of energy use goes to water heating, refrigeration, lighting, electronics, clothes dryers, cooking, and small appliances.
Want to learn more about your home energy usage? RG&E customers can track 12 months of their home's electric usage plus other relevant information on each monthly bill or by logging on to your RG&E account.
The most effective way to cut your energy bills is to reduce your usage by sealing your doors and windows against winter and summer drafts. Adding insulation to your attic, sealing and insulating your basement, and purchasing a programmable or smart thermostat also improve your home's energy efficiency and help cut your electric bills. Your utility company can provide a wealth of resources and may offer programs to help you improve your home's energy performance.
Understand Your RG&E Bill
The typical RG&E bill is about 5 pages long and contains many details that can be confusing to customers. However, there's lots of useful information to help you better understand your usage and what actually goes into your RG&E rates. Below, we summarize the most important items you need to understand on a sample RG&E Electric bill.
RG&E Sample Bill
- A: Name, Account Number, Statement Date. This section shows your name, 11 digit RG&E account number, the statement date, and the amount due.
- B: Account Summary. This section shows your previous charges, previous payment, any balance forwarded, and your current charges for RG&E.
- C: Budget Billing Summary. Customers who enroll in Budget Billing can see a breakdown of their current balance for the year. Customers in the Budget Billing program pay the same amount for 11 months of the year.
- D: Pay Stub. This section This section shows the service address and the mailing addres to return this stub with your payment if you pay RG&E by mail. To the right, it displays your customer account number and summarizes the total amount due for the current billing period. It also shows the date that late charges will take effect if the bill has not been paid by then.
- E: Page 3, Name, Account Number, Statement Date. This inform is show at the top of each bill page to help keep your bill organized. This page covers the details of your monthly usage. Electricity sections are marked by a light bulk icon, natural gas by a flame icon.
- F: Electricity Service and Account Activity. This section shows your service type and service rate (RG&E residential rates are indicated by the "SC1" code). This section also shows the service dates (usually 30 days). It also shows your Point of Delivery or POD number. You need to tell a retailer this number when you shop for an electricity supplier. The next section shows your meter information, including the current reading, the previous reading, dates, and the kWh amounts used.
- G: Electricity Delivery Charges. Here you can see how RG&E's delivery charges breakdown. They include the customer charge, the delivery charge per kWh used, the transisiton charge, and other fees and rider surcharges approved by the New York PSC.
- H: Electricity Supply Charges. This section details the cost for RG&E's PTC electricity. However, customers who have shopped and signed with an ESCO for their electricity will see that supply information here, instead.
- I: Electricity Taxes and Surcharges. This section shows taxes and any additional surcharges for your electricity.
- J: Natural Gas Service and Account Activity. Much like deregulated electricity, RG&E also delivers natural gas and offers default supply service for natural gas. Likewise, customers can also shop for an alternative natural gas supplier. Usage amounts are in hundred cubic feet (ccf).
- K: Natural Gas Delivery Charges. This section displays the delivery charges per hundred cubic feet (ccf) used.
- L: Page 5, Name, Account Number, Statement Date. This page provides useful information on your annual and currently monthly gas and electricity usage charges.
- M: Natural Gas Supply Charges. This section details the cost for RG&E's PTC natural gas rate. However, customers who have shopped and signed with an alternative gas supplier will see that supply price and usage breakdown here, instead.
- N: Electricity Usage Chart. Here you can find your electricty usage rate for the past 12 months. You can also see how the past month's consumption compares with the same period as last year.
- O: Natural Gas Usage Chart. This section displays your natural gas usage for the past 12 months. Likewise, you compare the past month's consumption th the same period as last year.
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RG&E Coupons, Energy Promotions, Discounts, Rebates and Promo Codes
As your local electric utility, RG&E offers several rebate and energy efficiency programs to help customers save money off their monthly bill by upgrading their home's energy performance. Some programs also offer money-saving incentives while others could make paying your monthly bills much easier during those expensive winter and summer months.
|Program Name||Program Type||Benefit|
|Clean Heat Rebate Program||Energy Efficiency Rebate Programs||
RG&E residential customers can take advantage of generous rebates on the purchase of high efficiency heating and cooling systems, including geothermal, heat pumps, central air conditioning, ductless systems, and water heating.
|Appliance Rebate Program||Energy Efficiency Rebate Program||
Custmers can also find savings on energy-efficient lighting, smart thermostats, water-saving solutions, power strips, air filters, smart home devices and electric vehicle charger by shopping the RG&E Smart Solutions on-line store.
|Residential Energy Assessment & Upgrades||Sealed Energy Efficiency Programs||
Sealed has teamed RG&E to help qualifying customers receive rebates to help improve your home's energy efficiency.
|RG&E Payment Arrangements||Bill payment assistance||
RG&E offers payment arrangements to allow residential customers to pay their account balance while remaining connected. There are payment plans with no down payment, fees or interest available.
|RG&E Project Share||Bill payment assistance||
If you're a residential customer that has exhausted all other forms of assistance and is facing a hardship (such as a Final Termination Notice, service shut off due to nonpayment, etc) you may be eligible. As long as funding remains available, eligible recipients may receive a one time benefit of $350 toward a heating expense. Applicants must contact a RG&E customer service representativeve for a referral.
Money for Project Share comes from funded with support from RG&E and RG&E customers as well as the Avangrid Foundation. The fund is administered by HeartShare Human Services of New York.
|Low Income Grants||Bill payment assistance||
Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) provides both regular and emergency financial grants to eligible households to help pay heating and/or utility bills. HEAP benefits are funded by the federal government and administered through the New York state Department of Social Services.
RG&E customers who receive a HEAP benefit during the HEAP season will be issued a monthly bill credit on their RG&E bill for a maximum of 12 months based on service type.
Energy Assistance Program (EAP) is designed to help eligible customers gain control of their energy bills. It has two levels of assistance, bill credits and arrears forgiveness. EAP bill credits are available automatically to any customer who receives a HEAP benefit. A limited number of EAP participants can apply for the EAP arrears forgiveness program.
|Em-Power New York Energy Efficiency Upgrades||Residential Energy Efficiency||
RG&E has partnered with New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) to offer HEAP qualified customers no-cost energy efficiency upgrades to help reduce their electric bills.
Read RG&E Reviews
Since RG&E serves a midsize east coast market segment, New York residential customers throughout the state can get a better picture of how good a job it does by comparing it to similar sized utilities. While RG&E is not accredited with the BBB, the utility ranked #1 in J.D. Power's 2020 utility residential customer satisfaction study.
|NY Energy Ratings Score||Better Business Bureau||J.D. Power 2020 Electricity Utility Study|
of 1000 pts
How Do I Get the Cheapest RG&E Rate?
Shopping for a new RG&E Customer Choice Plan can seem bewildering at first. Once you understand how it works, though, it's an easy and straightforward process. That said, you should have these three things with you when you shop for electricity.
- Your current bill. Your past usage per billing period can help you estimate a how much a plan might cost you each month.
- The current RG&E PTC rate. Knowing the current RG&E supply price lets you compare rates offered by retail energy suppliers. This way, you can get a better feel for what suppliers are offering, for how long, and if any of their incentives make their price work for your family's need.
- Your RG&E customer account number. You'll also need your load zone, billing cycle information. These are found with your This 11 digit account number on page 2 of your bill. Having these handy lets you sign up with a retail supplier right away.
RG&E Shopping Questions
The best way for a NY energy customer to avoid making a bad choice it to ask the right questions. That way, you can learn exactly the information that can save you money. When you shop for electricity service in New York, always be sure to ask these important questions:
- Is the rate variable or is it fixed?
- How long does the plan contract term run?
- Does the plan include any recurring monthly charges?
- Is the rate competitive with the current RG&E supply rate annual average? Remember that RG&E's rate changes monthly!
- Does the plan have an early cancellation fee?
- Does the supplier offer any customer incentives or rewards programs?
- What happens when the contract with the ESCO expires?
Other Commonly Asked New York Electricity Questions:
Who bills me? RG&E sends a single bill that outlines and adds up your monthly charges.
What are the Terms of Service? In NY, Customer Choice Plans must include Terms of Service that explain and identify specific charges and any fees a customer will face when they sign up for an electricity plan. Not all suppliers have the same terms. That's why all New York energy choice customers should read and understand the terms of service and contract summary for any plan they are interested in before they sign on to the plan.
What is the Right of Rescission? According to the New York ESCO Consumers Bill of Rights, residential customers have the right to rescind or cancel an agreement with an ESCO within three days of receiving the agreement without facing a penalty.
What are early termination fees? Switching retail suppliers before a contract ends can involve paying early termination fees. These can take a big chomp out of your checking account you if choose to switch retail providers before your plan contract ends.
Where can I find more information on my usage? RG&E customers can request 12 months of their energy usage free of charge. This is most easily available through your RG&E online account.
Compare RG&E Electricity Rates in Your Area
Bill Questions? Electricity Out? Contact RG&E!
Having problems or interruptions with your RG&E electricity? Here's the proper people to call.
RG&E Billing Problems
First thing to do is contact RG&E Customer Service at 1-800-743-2110 and learn what options you have. If you are having trouble paying your monthly bill then call RG&E's Bill Payment Center:1-888-315-1755. Have your account number ready. You can also apply for payment methods online through your RG&E account.
Important Billing Options to keep in mind:
- Budget Billing: The NY PSC requires all New York public utilities to offer "budget billing" where annual electricity costs are averaged out over the cost of the year. This ensures that customers aren't presented with unexpectedly high bills at peak times.
- Need Extra Time? The One Less Worry program can place your bill on hold for 30 days should you or a household member be hospitalized.
RG&E Emergencies and Outages
All power lines are extremely dangerous! Never attempt to move a downed power line by yourself. Call 911 and then notifiy RG&E.
- Report downed powerlines and other safety hazards immediately to RG&E at 1-800-743-1701.
- For natural gas emergencies or if you smell a natural gas odor, get up, get out and get away! Then immediately call RG&E at 1-800-743-1702 or 911 from a safe location.
- You can also report downed lines or outages at RG&E's website.
- Check RG&E's current electric outages as they are being repaired.
RG&E Service Area Providers
|Sunwave Gas & Power||