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Electricity Monthly Update

With Data for September 2019  |  Release Date: Nov. 26, 2019  |  Next Release Date: Dec. 23, 2019

Previous Issues

Highlights: September 2019

  • Wholesale electricity prices reached $975/MWh in Texas (ERCOT) in early September during a period of extremely hot weather.
  • Wholesale natural gas prices dipped to new 12-month lows in the Mid-Atlantic, Midwest, New York City, and New England.
  • A new September electric system daily demand was set in Texas (ERCOT) during an early-September heat wave.

Key indicators

Statewide average temperature ranks
Statewide precipitation ranks
Total net generation
Net generation by select fuel sources

Average monthly electricity bills for residential customers rose in 2018

Average monthly residential electricity bill, 2008-2018 Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Form EIA-861, Annual Electric Power Industry Report.

Although average monthly electricity bills for residential customers in the United States decreased from 2015 to 2017, they rose in 2018. The average monthly bill in 2018 was $117.65, up $5.98 (5.4%) from the $111.67 average bill in 2017 and up $5.07 (4.5%) from the $112.59 average bill in 2016.

EIA calculates average monthly bills by dividing total annual U.S. residential electricity sales revenues by the number of customer accounts and by 12, the number of months in the year. Average monthly bills have declined in 5 of the past 10 years. In three of those years (2011, 2012, and 2016) total revenues also declined. Total customer counts have steadily risen during the last several years.

Average monthly bills tend to increase when total revenues rise, and they decrease when the number of customer accounts go up. Although the percentage of total revenues increased by 6.4% in 2018, the percentage of customer accounts moved very little, up by 1%.

Average monthly residential electricity bill for 2018 Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Form EIA-861, Annual Electric Power Industry Report.

Average monthly residential electricity bills vary significantly by state. They tend to be higher in the South and along the East Coast where air-conditioning loads are greater. Average monthly bills tend to be lowest in the Rocky Mountain states where they have lower average annual cooling loads. Hawaii had the highest average monthly residential electricity bill in the United States in 2018 at $168.13. Hawaii typically has high electricity bills because of the high cost of importing fuel oil. Connecticut had the second-highest monthly bill at $153.46. Connecticut’s high average monthly bills are largely a result of the high cost of natural gas in the winter. Alabama and South Carolina also have high average monthly bills at $150.54 and $144.20, respectively. Both states have been in the top five since 2009. Mississippi ranked fifth, with an average monthly bill of $138.63. All of the states in the top five rankings of highest average monthly bills had increased average monthly electricity consumption from 2017 to 2018. In fact, nationwide, higher average consumption levels were seen in 41 states and the District of Columbia, as both heating degree days (up 12%) and cooling degree days (up 11%) increased relative to 2017 levels.

Highest average residential electricity bills, 2018
State
Number of customers
Average monthly consumption (kWh)
Average price (cents/kWh)
Average monthly bill
($)
Hawaii 436,266 518 32.47 168.13
Connecticut 1,503,701 724 21.20 153.46
Alabama 2,229,472 1,236 12.18 150.54
South Carolina 2,290,200 1,159 12.44 144.20
Mississippi 1,290,281 1,247 11.12 138.63
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Form EIA-861,
Annual Electric Power Industry Report
Note: kilowatthours (kWh)

Utah had the lowest average monthly residential electricity bill in the United States in 2018 at $77.25. New Mexico had the second-lowest average monthly bill in 2018 at $81.08. Previously, New Mexico had the lowest average monthly bill in the United States for several years in a row, from 2012 to 2017. The other three states with average monthly bills lower than $95 per month in 2018 were all located in the West: Colorado ($83.90), Montana ($93.19), and Washington ($93.34). Of the five states with the lowest average monthly bills, three of them (Utah, Montana, and Washington) had decreased consumption from 2017 to 2018. Western states tend to have the lowest average monthly bills because average electricity prices tend to be lower than the national average and modest consumption levels were driven lower by weather patterns that reduced cooling degree days by 2% in the Mountain and 11% in the Pacific census divisions.

Lowest average residential electricity bills, 2018
State
Number of customers
Average monthly consumption (kWh)
Average price (cents/kWh)
Average monthly bill
($)
Utah 1,091,162 742 10.41 77.25
New Mexico 889,841 639 12.68 81.08
Colorado 2,326,976 691 12.15 83.90
Montana 509,526 850 10.96 93.19
Washington 3,076,868 957 9.75 93.34
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Form EIA-861,
Annual Electric Power Industry Report
Note: kilowatthours (kWh)
Change in average monthly residential electricity bill, 2017 to 2018 Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Form EIA-861, Annual Electric Power Industry Report.

The change in average monthly residential electricity bills varies by state. Rhode Island had the highest percentage increase in its average monthly bill from 2017 to 2018, with an increase of 14.5 %. This increase was driven primarily by a 12.2% increase in the average residential price of electricity. Five other states showed an increase of greater than 10% in their average monthly residential electricity bills: Hawaii (12.6%), Massachusetts (12.3%), Tennessee (11.4%), Mississippi (10.6%), and Maine (10.5%). The average monthly bill increases in Hawaii, Massachusetts, and Maine primarily resulted from higher average electricity rates, and the average monthly bill increases in Tennessee and Mississippi were the results of higher levels of consumption.

Seven states had decreases in their average monthly residential electricity bills in 2018. Washington had the largest percentage drop in its average monthly bill, down 5.5%. Utah followed with a drop of 5.4%. Three other states, all in the West, had a greater-than-2% decrease in their average monthly bills from 2017 to 2018: Idaho (down 4.5%), Oregon (down 4%), and Wyoming (down 2.3%).


Principal Contributor:

Stephen Scott
(Stephen.Scott@eia.gov)

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