The SaveOnEnergy.com® Electricity Bill Report: Who paid the most, least?

March 26, 2020   By Arthur Murray

The SaveOnEnergy.com® Electricity Bill Report: Who paid the most, least?

Electricity bills are relentless – they come every month, and there’s little alternative except to pay them. But some months are more painful for residential electricity than others. Most state electricity comparisons are made on the basis of electricity rates, usually expressed in cents per kilowatt hours (kWh). It’s a number that doesn’t mean much to average users, who care more about that figure on the bottom line of their electricity bills.

That’s why we publish the SaveOnEnergy.com® Electricity Bill Report, a monthly look factoring the latest average state rates and average state usage to show what’s happening with the monthly cost of electricity. The April Report, using the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s data for January, shows that New Mexico residents have it best when it comes to electricity bills. On the other side, there’s a cost to living in an island paradise – Hawaii residents pay the highest electricity bills of any state.

How does your state stack up? First, let’s take a look at the 10 states with the lowest electricity bills:

State January 2020 rate (cents/kWh) Avg. monthly usage (kWh) Avg. bill
New Mexico 12.08 615 74.29
Utah 10.09 745 75.17
Colorado 11.74 678 79.60
Illinois 12.52 692 86.64
Wyoming 10.49 854 89.58
Maine 16.79 546 91.67
Nebraska 9.6 957 91.87
Minnesota 12.49 748 93.43
Oklahoma 9.06 1,039 94.13
Wisconsin 14.31 660 94.45

Digging into those numbers provides some surprises, including at the top of the list. New Mexico residents pay 12.08 cents/kWh for electricity – the 21st-highest rate in the country. So how do they have the lowest bills? Their monthly usage is among the nation’s lowest.

Meanwhile, the state with the second-lowest residential electricity rates for the month – Louisiana, 9.05 cents/kWh – is nowhere to be found among the 10 states with the lowest bills. That’s because residents average the highest usage in the country – 1,187 kilowatt hours per month. (We’ll show you how the math turns out later.)

Which states have the highest bills?

What about the other side of the equation? Hawaii’s rates – 31.70 cents/kWh – are nearly 31 percent higher than the next highest state, so even the nation’s lowest average usage doesn’t save residents from the highest bills – more than twice the average in New Mexico.

Following are the states with the highest electricity bills:

State January 2020 rate (cents/kWh) Avg. monthly usage (kWh) Avg. bill
Hawaii 31.7 506 160.40
Connecticut 21.93 690 151.32
Alabama 12.39 1,136 140.75
Rhode Island 24.24 577 139.86
Alaska 22.48 601 135.10
Massachusetts 22.91 583 133.57
South Carolina 12.27 1,082 132.76
Texas 11.75 1,112 130.66
Mississippi 11.33 1,132 128.26
Florida 11.73 1,089 127.74

We’ve outlined the best and the worst bills. See how your state did in the chart below (1 = lowest bills):

State January 2020 rate (cents/kWh) Avg. monthly usage (kWh) Avg. bill Cost ranking
Alabama 12.39 1,136 140.75 48
Alaska 22.48 601 135.10 46
Arizona 11.68 1,033 120.65 36
Arkansas 9.84 1,028 101.16 21
California 19.94 554 110.47 29
Colorado 11.74 678 79.60 3
Connecticut 21.93 690 151.32 49
Delaware 12.17 912 110.99 31
Florida 11.73 1,089 127.74 41
Georgia 10.9 1,062 115.76 35
Hawaii 31.7 506 160.40 50
Idaho 9.91 1,000 99.10 17
Illinois 12.52 692 86.64 4
Indiana 11.91 928 110.52 30
Iowa 11.72 831 97.39 15
Kansas 11.83 861 101.86 22
Kentucky 10.62 1,052 111.72 33
Louisiana 9.05 1,187 107.42 27
Maine 16.79 546 91.67 6
Maryland 13.42 940 126.15 40
Massachusetts 22.91 583 133.57 45
Michigan 15.74 633 99.63 18
Minnesota 12.49 748 93.43 8
Mississippi 11.33 1,132 128.26 42
Missouri 9.52 994 94.63 11
Montana 11.15 865 96.45 13
Nebraska 9.6 957 91.87 7
Nevada 11.98 854 102.31 23
New Hampshire 20.23 599 121.18 37
New Jersey 15.43 654 100.91 20
New Mexico 12.08 615 74.29 1
New York 17.55 572 100.39 19
North Carolina 11.01 1,042 114.72 34
North Dakota 9.01 1,063 95.78 12
Ohio 11.61 841 97.64 16
Oklahoma 9.06 1,039 94.13 9
Oregon 10.69 969 103.59 24
Pennsylvania 13.63 805 109.72 28
Rhode Island 24.24 577 139.86 47
South Carolina 12.27 1,082 132.76 44
South Dakota 10.68 978 104.45 26
Tennessee 10.84 1,150 124.66 38
Texas 11.75 1,112 130.66 43
Utah 10.09 745 75.17 2
Vermont 19.27 538 103.67 25
Virginia 11.69 1,078 126.02 39
Washington 9.43 1,023 96.47 14
West Virginia 10.84 1,026 111.22 32
Wisconsin 14.31 660 94.45 10
Wyoming 10.49 854 89.58 5
U.S. average 12.79 867 110.89

How have electricity bills changed since last year?

Bills in Vermont increased by the greatest percentage from a year ago, going up 15.2 percent year over year – meaning residents paid nearly $14 more for electricity in January 2020. Bills increased year-over-year in 38 states.
Following are the states where rates increased the most:

State January 2020 bill January 2019 bill % change
Vermont 103.67 90.01 15.2
Kansas 101.86 88.60 15.0
West Virginia 111.22 99.73 11.5
Pennsylvania 109.72 100.87 8.8
California 110.47 101.60 8.7
Rhode Island 139.86 130.98 6.8
Arkansas 101.16 95.60 5.8
Michigan 99.63 94.95 4.9
Alabama 140.75 134.62 4.6
Kentucky 111.72 107.41 4.0

Arizona bills decreased the most compared with last year – 4.3 percent.

State January 2020 bill January 2019 bill % change
Arizona 120.65 126.13 -4.3
Ohio 97.64 100.75 -3.1
Maine 91.67 94.24 -2.7
Minnesota 93.43 95.67 -2.3
Florida 127.74 130.57 -2.2
New Jersey 100.91 102.81 -1.8
North Dakota 95.78 97.48 -1.7
Colorado 79.60 80.61 -1.3
Hawaii 160.40 162.32 -1.2
New Mexico 74.29 75.09 -1.1

What to do about high bills?

The first thing you can do is reduce the amount of energy you use. That doesn’t mean freezing or roasting in the house and taking cold showers. Some energy-saving tips are easy and painless.

The other way to cut your energy bills is, if you live in a state with deregulation, is to find a lower electricity supply rates. Energy deregulation, put simply, means energy choice. States with energy choice allow residential and other customers to choose the company that provides their energy. Click on your state below, enter your ZIP code and see whether you can lower your rate:

California Connecticut Illinois
Maine Maryland Massachusetts
New Hampshire New Jersey New York
Ohio Pennsylvania Texas

Remember, lower rates plus lower usage translate into lower bills.

SaveOnEnergy.com will continue to track monthly electricity bills. Bookmark this page to see which state residents are getting the best and worst deals on electricity.

(Last updated March 26, 2020)