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Today in Energy

December 15, 2020

Average monthly electricity bill for U.S. residential customers declined in 2019

average U.S. residential monthly electricity price, consumption, and bill
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Annual Electric Power Industry Report

In 2019, the average monthly electricity bill for residential customers in the United States was 1.8% lower than it had been in 2018, down from $118 to $115 per month. Although the average U.S. residential electricity price rose from 12.87 cents per kilowatthour (kWh) in 2018 to 13.01 cents/kWh in 2019, less-than-average monthly electricity consumption per customer resulted in a lower average bill in 2019.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) calculates an average monthly bill by dividing annual residential revenues by the number of customer accounts and by 12 months. Less consumption by residential customers in the United States in 2019 was partly a result of cooler summer weather than in 2018. In addition, longer-term trends in consumer behavior and energy efficiency have gradually pushed down electricity consumption by the average residential consumer. These trends include the increased use of behind-the-meter generation (such as rooftop solar panels), high-efficiency appliances, more efficient lighting, and smart energy-saving devices. Since 2009, the average monthly electricity consumption per customer in the United States has fallen by 2.3%, from 908 kWh in 2009 to 877 kWh in 2019.

average monthly residential electricity bill, selected states
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Annual Electric Power Industry Report

In 2019, customers in Hawaii paid the highest residential electricity bills, averaging $168 per month. Electricity prices in Hawaii are three times the national average. Hawaii’s high electricity prices result from reliance on higher-cost, oil-fired electricity generation in the state, which requires marine imports of petroleum.

Although residential customers in Connecticut consumed fairly modest average amounts of electricity in 2019, the state had the second-highest average consumer electricity bill in the nation ($151) because of higher-than-average electricity prices. Connecticut's higher electricity rates are typical in the Northeast region because of constraints on natural gas pipeline capacity during peak demand periods, a lack of natural gas storage capacity, and the region’s higher cost of living.

Residential customers in Alabama, South Carolina, and Mississippi saw slightly lower-than-average electricity prices, but they consumed more electricity than in other states because of the significant summer cooling demand resulting from hot, humid summer weather.

With the exception of Idaho, the lowest monthly average residential electricity bills in 2019 resulted from lower-than-average consumption levels and lower-than-average electricity rates. Lower-cost hydroelectric generation supplies a large share of Idaho’s electricity, which translated to lower-than-average rates that more than compensated for higher-than-average consumption levels in Idaho.

Principal contributors: Peter Wong, Paul McArdle