Apartment Electric Utility: Everything You Need to Know
Your apartment electricity usage may be lower than in an average house of the same size. However, that does not mean that your electric bill will also be lower, especially as electricity service is usually costlier in cities than in suburbs or in the countryside. Regardless of how much energy you use, there are always ways to reduce how much electricity your appliances need and to save money by lowering your energy bill.
With this in mind, let’s consider apartment electricity. In doing so, we will look at the average electric bill and compare it to your existing energy use. We will also look at how choosing a different plan may result in a lower electricity bill and we will look into the ways how you can use free electricity periods to benefit you the most. Let’s dive right in.
Apartment Electricity Costs
Apartment electricity costs in the US are lower than in an average home of the same size. This is because apartments need less electricity for:
- Lights – as an apartment is smaller than a house,
- Heating – as apartments are surrounded by other apartments and not the elements,
- Cooling – as the surface area is smaller and the ceilings usually lower, so is the volume of air that should be air-conditioned,
- Appliances – as an apartment is smaller, it usually has fever appliances. It is difficult to imagine no heating unit in a house, but not so much in an apartment.
All these factors bring down your electricity usage, but the price you pay per kWh may still be higher than in the countryside and outside of the city center. For this reason, knowing how to be mindful of your energy habits and how to save energy by choosing the right appliances is of paramount importance in lowering your electricity bill. Switching to a new provider is also an option, but it may not be available to everyone.
Average Energy Usage
The first thing you should understand is your average energy usage. This simple measure will be very effective in helping you understand how much power you are using and whether there is space for improvement. As older houses generally use more electricity than newly-built houses, it may be beneficial to take this into consideration.
As your house ages, the quality of appliances diminishes, especially as newer, energy-efficient models take over the market. The quality of the insulation is also a big question, so if you’ve moved in recently, you may want to speak with the landlord and see when a home energy audit was last done. Furthermore, understanding the average energy usage in your area can help navigate the complex field of electricity usage and may help you purchase a better electricity plan.
In general, the southern states experience mild winters and hot summers. This means that most of your energy use will be focused in the summer months, as you need to crank up the AC unit to keep the apartment at a comfortable temperature. Northern states, on the other hand, use more electricity during winter, as the houses and apartments need to stay warm. Look at your energy bills for the past year and try to find some similar trends.
Although we cannot discuss every single US region in detail, we can provide you with some general ideas. Here is the average energy usage per apartment size in the US:
|Apartment Size||Average Monthly Electricity Usage|
|1-Bedroom Apartment||300-500 kWh|
|2-Bedroom Apartment||500-1,000 kWh|
|3-Bedroom Apartment||1,000-1,500 kWh|
|Bigger Apartments||+ 1,500 kWh|
Average Electric Bill
This is the average usage of electricity in US apartments of different sizes. However, this is not the only metric you should take into consideration when looking for cheap apartment electricity. The thing is that you can only reduce your energy use by so much. Looking for a cheaper energy plan can help bring down your electricity bills much lower, much faster.
Of course, electricity prices are not universal in the US. The average residential electricity rate in the US was $0.1542 in June 2022. Now compare this number to the Hawaii average residential electricity rate of $0.4409 and to $0.1079 in Washington that same month. Electricity in Hawaii is 4.4 times more expensive in the island state than in Washington!
Considering this, we need to take into account where you live. Be mindful that these are average electricity prices, and that the actual prices in cities in these states may even be higher. For this reason, it is essential to use websites such as Electricrate, where you can quickly browse, filter, and find the best electricity rates offered in your ZIP code. Let’s now take a look at the average price of electricity per apartment size and per US state. We will choose the 10 most populous states and compare them to the US average:
|US State||Average Electricity Cost||1 Bedroom Apartment [Monthly]||2-Bedroom Apartment [Monthly]||3-Bedroom Apartment [Monthly]||Bigger Apartments [Monthly]|
|California||$0.2898/kWh||$86.94 - $144.90||$144.90 - $289.80||$289.80 - $434.70||+ $434.70|
|Texas||$0.133/kWh||$39.90 - $66.50||$66.50 - $133.00||$133.00 - $199.50||+ $199.50|
|Florida||$0.139/kWh||$41.70 - $69.50||$69.50 - $139.00||$139.00 - $208.50||+ $208.50|
|New York||$0.2238/kWh||$67.14 - $111.90||$111.90 - $223.80||$223.80 - $335.70||+ $335.70|
|Pennsylvania||$0.1651/kWh||$49.53 - $82.55||$82.55 - $165.10||$165.10 - $247.65||+ $247.65|
|Illinois||$0.1679/kWh||$50.37 - $83.95||$83.95 - $167.90||$167.90 - $251.85||+ $251.85|
|Ohio||$0.1433/kWh||$42.99 - $71.65||$71.65 - $143.30||$143.30 - $214.95||+ $214.95|
|Georgia||$0.1527/kWh||$45.81 - $76.35||$76.35 - $152.70||$152.70 - $229.05||+ $229.05|
|North Carolina||$0.1183/kWh||$35.49 - $59.15||$59.15 - $118.30||$118.30 - $177.45||+ $177.45|
|Michigan||$0.1811/kWh||$54.33 - $90.55||$90.55 - $181.10||$181.10 - $271.65||+ $271.65|
|U.S. Total||$0.1542/kWh||$46.26 - $77.10||$77.10 - $154.20||$154.20 - $231.30||+ $231.30|
Needless to say, there will be many factors that determine your average monthly energy use. The electricity bills outlined here are estimates and your actual utility bills may be very different. Furthermore, compare the Texas electricity rates outlined in the table to the actual prices in different Texas cities: there are as many different energy rates as there are electricity companies working in the state.
Find the Best Energy Rate for Your Apartments
Amidst all these price differences, it is clear that you need to spend some time researching your options to find the best possible deal. Needless to say, this way, by spending a few hours at most, you will be able to find the best electricity provider servicing your area and secure the best apartment electricity rates. As there are many apartment electricity plans offered in every US city, let’s consider what you can do to start the search:
Research Local Service Providers
Researching local service providers is the first logical step to finding the electricity plan that suits your needs. Mind you, you can only choose your electricity provider. In some US states, you cannot make a choice like this. What you cannot change is the electricity company (aka the utility company) in your area, as they are fixed per region and in charge of the grid maintenance, modernization, and expansion.
Determine your Power Consumption
The next thing to do is to determine your power consumption. This can easily be done by looking at your energy bill. Most electric companies will show your average monthly electricity usage. If not, grab the last 12 energy bills, sum up the power usage and divide by 12. This will give you the average power consumption, or how much electricity your apartment uses every month.
Choose an Energy Plan
The next thing is to go to Electricrate.com and browse the plans. Our platform allows you to search for the best electricity company and electricity plan by simply entering your ZIP code. You can then streamline or filter the search by many factors, including:
- The average monthly use,
- The desired electricity rates,
- The type of energy you will be getting with your electricity plan (for example, renewable energy), and
- The energy provider (if you already know a good one).
Switch Your Electric Provider
Once you understand your average electricity bill and have found the perfect apartment electricity rates, it is time to switch to the new electricity plan. Mind that you may have to pay an early termination fee, especially if you are on a new energy plan. As these can get expensive, you should contact your current energy provider and see what fee they will charge. Beware that most energy providers will not charge an early termination fee if you are moving into a new apartment.
Once you have all the details, contact the new energy provider. You should discuss and compare electricity plan details found on our website with them. Make sure there are no hidden costs and fees, and, once you are sure that this is the plan you want, ask them to make the switch for you. You will be purchasing electricity from the new energy provider as soon as the next billing period.
Apartment Energy Plans
As there are more factors to consider than average energy use, let’s pay attention to some more factors that can determine your electricity bill and the cost per kWh that you pay. To make the right decision and choose the best among many electricity plans, let’s pay close attention to the types of apartment electricity plans offered throughout the US:
A fixed-rate plan is the best option if you want to ensure price stability despite the kWh usage every month. Fixed-rate plans cost a bit more per kWh than variable-rate plans, but the peace of mind knowing that you are protected from energy price fluctuations throughout the year is something that has no price. Fixed-energy plans offer a single rate for the whole duration of the contract, which is sometimes as long as 5 years.
Variable-rate plans, on the other hand, allow you to enjoy some benefits that fixed-rate plans do not have. In simplest terms, your energy price per kWh will be tied to the energy price in the wholesale market. Normally, this would be a great type of electricity plan to choose from. However, considering energy price fluctuations that we can see happen throughout the world, not just in the US, we recommend that you choose something else.
Green Energy Plan
If you are eco-conscious, you should choose a green energy plan. This type of plan will supply your house with green or renewable energy. This electricity plan will easily enable you to reduce your carbon footprint and to help mitigate climate change. Beware when choosing these plans, as they may well be charging more per kWh – a phenomenon known as the “green premium”. Compare prices before making your final choice.
No-Deposit Energy Plan
Finally, no-deposit energy plans are the best type of plan there is for anyone who does not want to pay a deposit, but still wants electricity service. With no-deposit energy plans, you will be paying a higher price for every kWh you use. However, you will also be able to enjoy a much more flexible electricity service, which is something that many students and people who move temporarily can really benefit from.
Best Energy Companies for Apartments
When looking for the best energy companies for your apartment, it is important to note that the company that has the best website or the best app may not be the best choice for you. Instead, what you should do is do a bit of research on your own:
- A good company is not a new company – look for experience, and at least 10 years in the market,
- Check out their BBB.org rating,
- Check different blogs and customer experiences – do not worry if there are a few bad comments, as there always are. Rather focus on repetitive issues, such as overcharging, bad customer support, etc,
- Beware of comments that are too good, as well, as they can be fake.
Here are some good and proven US energy providers:
- Alliance Power,
- Amigo Energy,
- Champion Energy,
- Commerce Energy,
- Discount Power,
- G-Power Energy,
- Heritage Power,
- Public Power, and
- WTU Energy.
Here are some good and proven US energy utilities:
- AEP Ohio,
- Ameren Illinois,
- Atlantic City Electric,
- Oncor Electric Delivery,
- PECO Energy,
- PPL Electric Utilities,
- Rochester Gas and Electric, and
- Vectren Energy Delivery.
Tips for Splitting Power Bills With Roommates
However, if you are a student or otherwise have roommates, you may need to split your apartment electricity bill. To do so makes things just a bit more complicated, as the need to understand the energy needs and habits of several other people besides yourself may arise. To best approach the issues, we give you the following advice:
Make a Plan
Make a plan of how the energy bill is going to be paid and stick to it. While some may prefer to pay equal parts, some may want to pay as a percentage, based on the size of the space they occupy. Whatever the plan, once everybody has agreed, simply stick to it.
You may decide to pay your utilities in cash, or you may decide that one person will pay for those and that others compensate the person in charge in cash. Whatever the decision, make sure that it is carried throughout because landlords do not like it when people are past their bill’s due date.
Select the Best Energy Plan & Company
Once the plan is in place and if you would like to switch your energy provider, you may want to discuss your energy needs. As you are all probably very young, changing your habits and energy use should not be too difficult. You should be able to talk your energy needs through, as well as ways that you can keep your electric bill under control.
To do so, simply discuss your needs and see what kind of compromises you can get. If you would like to opt for an energy plan that includes free periods of electricity, these periods may be the best time to do your laundry and have the dryer running. Try to find similar ways to save with other appliances and energy-intensive activities, such as:
- Limiting shower time,
- Agreeing on the best times to use the laundry machine, the dryer, and the dishwasher,
- Preparing joint meals,
- Cooking several meals at the same time,
- Agreeing on how to use the air conditioner,
- Limiting the number of appliances in the apartment to a specific number per person,
- Agreeing to stick to the energy use plan.
Once all of this is in place, you can head over to Electricrate.com and browse electricity plans offered in your area. Simply enter your ZIP code and spend some time browsing the electricity plans available in your area. If you are moving into a new apartment, it may be hard to know the exact usage, as every apartment complex has different kWh usage for each flat. As Texas weather can be unpredictable, this is also one of the reasons why you should leave some leeway with energy use.
Discuss You Apartments’ Energy Usage
Discuss your apartment’s energy usage and how you can limit it. After a few months spent in the apartment, you should have a good idea of the exact usage of electricity in your apartment. Once you know this, you can run a simple DIY home energy audit, to find the places where you can save. Here are some general tips on how to reduce your electric bill and save money in doing so.
Tips on How to Save Money on Your Electric Bill
There are many ways that you can use to save electricity and money in your one, two, or three-bedroom apartment. First of all, understand your exact usage and your exact energy needs. Based on this, browse the electricity plans offered in your area and be prepared to switch providers if you find a much better deal. Beware that your old provider may try to charge a cancellation fee.
Once this is all in place, you should follow these steps to reduce electricity and other utilities in your flat:
- Lights turned off do not consume any electricity,
- Always use pots on matching-size burners,
- Close all windows when air conditioning is on. If you live in an area where nights are fresh, you can leave windows open to ensure the hot air can escape rather than have the AC unit deal with it,
- Caulk all windows and door crevices and any other places where hot/cold air could escape the apartment,
- Follow energy usage level each time you purchase a new appliance or a device,
- Use the dishwasher and the laundry machine only when they are full,
- Substitute incandescent light bulbs for energy-efficient LEDs,
- Try to find the cheapest rate in your area. Understand that the cheapest rate does not have to mean the best price, but the best effective price – sometimes, a low rate with no freebies will cost you more than a higher rate with freebies,
- Install a programmable thermostat,
- Limit shower time per person,
- Limit how much screen time everybody gets, and use combo time, such as when playing XBOX or other gaming platforms, etc.
Other Apartment Utilities
Some may ask: “Why is it so important to find affordable apartment electricity plans? Electricity is not expensive, after all.” True that, but what you should bear in mind is that electricity is not the only thing your apartment home has to pay for. Besides electricity, you also need to pay for:
- Water and sewage service,
- Natural gas, if you use it,
- Internet, cable and phone, and
- Security system, if there is any available in your apartment complex.
In most cases, your water and sewer bill will be sent to you as a single bill. This means that you can pay them both at once. Before moving into the apartment, make sure to understand who will be paying the utilities – in most cases, they should be included in the rent itself. If otherwise is the case, ask about local recommendations and make sure to read the fine print before signing any paperwork.
Natural gas is used in both homes and apartments throughout the country. If you have appliances that run on gas to provide you with hot water and heating, you have a gas connection. You will need to revise the natural gas bill and see if you can save by reducing your natural gas use or by switching providers.
In most neighborhoods, there is a preferred trash pickup service. If this is the case, simply go with the flow. If this is not the case, you may have to set up the trash service before moving in. A single phone call is usually enough. Beware that in some smaller communities, the town or the city itself may be providing these services – if this is the case, you will usually get a joint bill for water, sewage/sewer, and trash pickup.
Internet, Cable, and Phone
Internet, cable, and phone are definitely worth paying attention to. Spend a considerable time planning for each of these services, as they can easily cost over $50 a month for a cheap plan. To avoid spending hundreds on the services that you may or may not need to use at all, spend time planning now.
The thing is that with YouTube, Netflix, and other streaming services, you are already paying for subscriptions and access to the content they offer. Do you really need to pay for the cable as well and get to see all the blockbusters several months after they are played in the cinemas? Probably not. Likewise, do you really need a 100 GB plan for your smartphone? Or is 10 GB a month enough?
Purchasing a good security system may be of value although it may pose additional expenses to you. It should be mentioned that your security system may reduce your homeowner or renter insurance. It can also provide you with the peace of mind that your home is safe even when you are not around.
What Uses the Most Electricity in an Apartment?
Heaters of any kind use the most electricity in an apartment. This means space heaters, water heaters, and even your dryer, and blow dryer. The thing is that heating is very energy-intensive in general, so try to switch to natural gas or any other form of gas if you can.
How Do I Prepare for My First Apartment?
To prepare for your first apartment, make a list of all the utilities that you need/use in your old apartment or family home and find the best deal on each of those in your new apartment ZIP code. On Electricrate, for example, you can enter your ZIP code and see all electricity plans offered in the ZIP code area.
Does Leaving the TV on All Night Use a Lot of Electricity?
Depending on the size of your TV and how much electricity it uses, leaving it on all night can use a lot of electricity. Some TVs use as much as 300 Watts of power, which translates to nearly 2.5 kWh of energy used per night (for 8 hours of running), and 75 kWh per month. As this is almost a quarter of the total energy use of a small apartment, it may be worth considering turning the TV off during the night.
How much does a 1 hour shower cost?
A 1-hour shower will cost you between $0.5 and $1. This may not be too much, but considering that other family members want to shower as well, and do so 365 days a year, you may want to install water-saving shower heads and limit your shower time to, ideally, less than 1 hour every day.
As energy costs keep rising, it may be time to reconsider what you think the best electricity service is. Based on your electricity usage level and your energy habits, you may need a bit of time to consider the plans offered in your area and find the best plan for your new household. You should follow our handy guide to ensure that your energy bill stays where it should be.