What’s the Typical Monthly Electric Bill in Your State?

average utility costs by zip code

When the utility invoice arrives in the mail, you are probably far from excited. Why does it feel like no matter what you do, the electricity bills just keep getting higher? To answer that question, we need to look at the average electric bills in your area and in the country. Then we will answer the most pressing question – how can you bring the average cost of electricity down?

Factors Affecting the Cost of Electric Bills

What do your monthly electricity costs depend on? There are two major variables affecting your monthly bill – your monthly electricity usage and your electricity rate per kilowatt-hour of electricity. You might be thinking – that is all well and good, but I can’t change how much electricity do I spend or the per-unit price that the utility company charges. Actually, you can! Let’s look at how to do both.

Electrical Consumption

Your electricity bills will directly depend on the amount of electricity that you use every month so the first thing you should do is to calculate your average monthly electricity usage. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the average U.S. household consumed approximately 877 kWh per month in 2019 but it can vary from anywhere between 700 and 2000 kWhs.

How can you find out what your electricity usage is? The easiest way is to look at your previous electricity bill which will have your consumption listed. You can also estimate the usage yourself – by adding up the electricity consumed by all the major appliances in your home.

Modern comfort comes at a price and air conditioners, refrigerators, chargers, and water heaters are the third-largest use of energy in the United States. What’s worse, according to the same report, 35% of residential energy in the US is wasted, rather than used!

Did you know…

Many modern devices at your home, such as the DVR, computer, laptop are referred to as ‘vampire appliances’ because they continue using energy and cost you money even in the ‘Stand By’ mode.

For example, by not turning off your laptop properly (closing it, instead of switching it off with a button), you’re burning through an extra 34 dollars on your annual electricity invoice.

Consider getting a smart power strip, a device that shuts off electronics that are no longer in use, to avoid steep standby power costs.

Current Electricity Price

You might be surprised to find out that the amount people pay per unit of electricity also varies, not only by state, region, zip code, but even person to person. Different US states pay different amounts for electricity because the cost to produce it is higher in some parts of the countries and lower in others.

Why does the price per unit of electricity vary within the state? Some US states have what we call energy deregulation, meaning that the provision of electricity is not limited to the state transmission and distribution service providers (TDSP). Different retail suppliers can offer electric services to customers for discounted prices. The national average electric rate per kilowatt-hour is 13.35 cents, however – the average rates in deregulated states are almost always lower.

average water bill for 2 bedroom apartment

How do you Calculate your Electric Bill?

So how do you calculate your final electric bill? You can apply the rule of thumb for your back of the envelope calculation with the following formula:

Kilowatt Hours Used x Cents per Kilowatt Hour ÷ 100 = Electric Bill

Household electric usage is typically measured in kilowatt-hours. You can think of each unit of electricity as an equivalent of the appliances or entity that it can power. Each device in your home has a label with wattage on the back, so when you multiply it by the number of hours you use it in a month, you get the watt-hour consumption.

average electric bill for 2 bedroom apartment

For example, If you use your 2000-watt room heater for approximately 4 hours per day, you end up consuming 2000 watts x 4 hours x 28 days = 224,000 Wh/Month ÷ 1000 = 224 kWh/ Month.

 Now, you multiply your total average kilowatt-hour consumption by the average rate you pay per kilowatt-hour. For example, say you live in Texas and you haven’t yet switched electric suppliers, so you are paying the standard electricity tariff of 11.85 cents per kWh.

So if your typical monthly usage is 1000 kWh, at a rate of 11.85 cents, your average monthly electricity bill $118.5. Of course, this calculation doesn’t include your state or local taxes and other additional charges that you typically see on your monthly invoice.

Speaking of…

Breaking Down Your Energy Bill

When you examine your electricity bill, you will notice two different charges – a supply charge and a transmission and delivery charge.

The supply charges of your energy bill cover the cost of generating electricity. This could, for example, be the cost of operating a nuclear power plant or the cost of setting up a solar or a wind farm. In the deregulated energy states, you can shop around for supply rates charged by various retail energy providers.

The delivery charges reflect the costs of reliable transmission and safe distribution of electricity to your home. These charges are federally regulated and governed and cannot be modified by the individual electricity suppliers.

The final electric bill is an addition to your supply and delivery charges, multiplied by your usage.

National Average Electric Bill

According to the US Energy Information Administration, the national average monthly electricity bill for residential customers in 2020 was $115, approximately 1.8% lower than it had been in 2019 ($118).

However, that’s not because the electricity prices would be lower. The average U.S. residential electricity price actually went up from 12.87 cents/kWh in 2019 to 13.01 cents/kWh in 2020. But the electricity consumption per customer resulted in a lower average bill.

Average Residentital Electric Bill

The size of the apartment or house will make a great difference to your energy bill. A larger space consumes more electricity to be heated, cooled, and lit, adding to the power bills.

The average one-bedroom apartment clocks in at 743 square feet. These apartments consume approximately 750 kWh per month. Every additional square foot will add approximately 0.5 kWh to your usage. It means that if your apartment is 900 square feet, your approximate usage will be 750 + 150(x 0.5) or 825 kWh.

Below are some rough estimates for average electricity and heat bills of different sizes:

average electric bill for 2 bedroom apartment in texas

Average Commercial Electric Bill

The average commercial customer uses approximately 6,000 kWh each month which is a lot higher than the energy usage of a household. However, do keep in mind that this figure is an average of all businesses, from a family restaurant to a large enterprise.

Since the commercial electric usage is so high, the average electricity rates that companies pay tend to be lower – because they can purchase in bulk. In addition, their usage is often predictable, therefore the supplier can purchase enough electricity in advance. And although the average electricity bills for commercial customers vary greatly from state to state, the average US business pays $647.61 for electricity each month.

Average Electricity Bill by State

So does the state you live in play a role in how much you pay for electricity? Yes, a big one! The average electric rates vary significantly across the different U.S. states. The average electric rate in the state with the most expensive electricity (Hawaii) is almost three times higher than in the state with the least expensive electricity (Minnesota). Of course, the average monthly electric usage among states also varies so if we want to look at average monthly electric bills by state, we will have to consider both usage and rate per kilowatt/hour.

State with the Highest Energy Bill

The unwanted award for having the highest average monthly bills goes to Hawaii! That’s right, even despite their moderate usage, Hawaiian customers paid on average $151.31/ month in 2020.  This is due to the fact that Hawaii is an island so transporting electricity there is extremely expensive.

Top 10 States With The Highest Monthly Electricity Bills

NoStateAverage Consumption (kWh)Average Cost (per kWh)Average Electric Bill
1Hawaii524$ 0.2884 $ 151.12
2Alabama1200$ 0.1255$ 150.60
3Connecticut689$ 0.2141$ 147.51
4Mississippi1,206$ 0.1199$ 144.59
5South Carolina1,114$ 0.1268$ 141.25
6Texas1,140$ 0.122$ 139.06
7Tennessee1,217$ 0.111$ 135.09
8West Virginia1,084$ 0.1246$ 135.02
9Florida1,108$ 0.12$ 132.95
10Rhode Island560$ 0.2358$ 131.95

Top 10 States With The Lowest Monthly Electricity Bills

NoStateAverage Consumption (kWh)Average Cost (per kWh)Average Electric Bill
1Utah727$ 0.1029$ 74.81
2New Mexico640$ 0.1294$ 82.82
3Colorado682$ 0.1238$ 84.43
4Maine562$ 0.1617$ 90.88
5Idaho949$ 0.0967$ 91.77
6Illinois709$ 0.1341$ 95.07
7Washington973$ 0.0984$ 95.74
8Wyoming864$ 0.1112$ 96.08
9Montana857$ 0.1122$ 96.16
10Minnesota759$ 0.1292$ 98.06

How have electricity bills changed since last year?

Are you paying more for electricity than before? The truth is that it varies across the states. We learned before that the national average residential bill went down by 1.8% in 2020, even though the average rate per kilowatt-hour went up. Let’s look at how this figure breaks among the different states:

Top 10 States With The Highest Increase in Electricity Bills

NoState2020 Average Monthly Electric Bill2019 Average Monthly Electric BillPercent Change
1California$ 118.45$ 107.0110.69%
2Arkansas$ 118.35$ 107.849.74%
3Rhode Island$ 131.95$ 122.667.57%
4South Dakota$ 125.57$ 117.756.65%
5West Virginia$ 135.03$ 126.686.59%
6New Mexico$ 82.78$ 77.736.50%
7Colorado$ 84.46$ 79.965.63%
8Minnesota$ 98.10$ 93.175.30%
9Wisconsin$ 99.52$ 94.545.27%
10New York$ 109.20$ 104.015.00%

Top 10 States With The Biggest Decrease in Electricity Bills

NoState2020 Average Monthly Electric Bill2019 Average Monthly Electric BillPercent Change
1Maine$ 90.87$ 98.63-7.86%
2Hawaii$ 151.31$ 162.54-6.91%
3Nevada$ 103.32$ 110.35-6.37%
4New Hampshire$ 114.96$ 121.07-5.04%
5South Carolina$ 141.26$ 147.83-4.45%
6Pennsylvania$ 113.01$ 117.87-4.12%
7Virginia$ 130.76$ 136.04-3.88%
8District of Columbia$ 100.38$ 103.54-3.05%
9Arizona$ 118.55$ 121.79-2.66%
10Alaska$ 125.14$ 127.92-2.17%
11Connecticut$ 147.53$ 149.11-1.06%

Hopefully, by now you have a good understanding of what makes up your electricity bill, how do average electricity bills vary between households and businesses, across states, and even in time.

If you worry that your electric bill is too high, you can try to reduce your usage, replace broken appliances or even schedule a utility bill audit. And if you live in one of the 18 deregulated U.S. states, you can try to look around for a better rate per kWh – which you now know has a huge impact on your final bills!

FAQs

How much electricity does the average person use per month?

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the average U.S. person consumed approximately 877 kWh per month in 2019, but it can vary from anywhere between 700 and 2000 kWh depending on the size of your property and your daily habits.

What costs the most on your electric bill?

According to Connect4Climate, a global partnership program launched by the World Bank Group, the most expensive item on your electric bill is your heating and cooling – making up nearly 50% of the final bill. The second most expensive appliance in your house is your electric water heater – adding an additional 15% to the final cost.

How much electricity does a three-bedroom house use?

According to ForRent.com, an online blog that advertises rental listings, an average three-bedroom space generates monthly invoices of $93 in electricity and $65 in natural gas.

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