According to latest release from the U.S. Department of Energy – Energy Information Administration (EIA), the average residential monthly electric bill was $110.21 in 2013. The most expensive utility bill for homeowners is the electric bill, accounting for roughly 9% of expenditure on housing according to NAHB tabulations of Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data on consumer expenditures.
The average monthly electric bill varies widely by state. In the contiguous United States, the West South Central states (Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Texas) had the highest average monthly electric bill at $126.75, while the Pacific states (California, Oregon, and Washington) had the lowest at $90.84. The state with the highest average monthly electric bill was Hawaii at $190.36 or nearly 2.5 times the average electric bill in New Mexico. New Mexico was the state with the lowest average electric bill in 2013 at $76.56.
Variation in the monthly electric bill by state is function of consumption and pricing for which EIA also provides estimates. The EIA is the government agency responsible for the collection and dissemination of energy information. EIA conducts an annual survey of the electrical power industry. Results from the survey are used to estimate the average residential monthly electrical bill, average monthly consumption, and average monthly price by state. A direct link to the 2013 statistics is provided below.
In 2013, the state with highest average monthly consumption was Louisiana at 1,273 kilowatt hours. The state with the lowest average monthly consumption was Hawaii at 515 kilowatt hours. The noncontiguous Pacific states (Alaska and Hawaii) had the lowest average monthly consumption.
Maine was state with the second lowest level of average monthly consumption. Relatively mild summers and reliance on heating oil during the winter largely explain the low levels of consumption in Maine. According to the EIA over 80% of the homes in the Northeast rely on heating oil for space heating instead of electricity.
In 2013, the state with the highest average price per-unit was Hawaii at 36.98 cents per kilowatt hour. The state with the lowest average price per-unit was Washington at 8.70 cents per kilowatt hour.
Of the four types of electric industry consumers tracked by the EIA, residential consumers account for the largest share of electric industry sales at 37.4%. Commercial consumers are a close second at 36.1%. Industrial consumers account for 26.3% of sales.
In addition to being the largest consumer of electricity, residential consumers generally pay the highest prices. The average retail price paid by U.S. residential consumers in 2013 was 12.13 cents/kWh. The average retail price paid by commercial consumers was 10.31 cents/kWh while industrial consumers paid 6.88 cents/kWh.
The electric bill is a large share of a homeowner’s expenditure on housing and the most expensive utility. Although climate plays a significant role in consumption, and production a significant role in pricing, the age of the housing stock also plays a role. Newer homes tend to be more energy efficient than older homes. NAHB analysis of the EIA Residential Energy Consumption Survey (RECS) found that on a square footage basis newer homes use less energy and housing built in previous 10 years accounts for only 3.2% of energy consumption.