In this paper we present a model to describe the electrical properties of a confluent cell monolayer cultured on gold microelectrodes to be used with electric cell-substrate impedance sensing technique. This model was developed from microscopic considerations (distributed effects), and by assuming that the monolayer is an element with mean electrical characteristics (specific lumped parameters). No assumptions were made about cell morphology. The model has only three adjustable parameters. This model and other models currently used for data analysis are compared with data we obtained from electrical measurements of confluent monolayers of Madin-Darby Canine Kidney cells. One important parameter is the cell-substrate height and we found that estimates of this magnitude strongly differ depending on the model used for the analysis. We analyze the origin of the discrepancies, concluding that the estimates from the different models can be considered as limits for the true value of the cell-substrate height.