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

November 27, 2019   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 December Report, using the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s data for September, 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 September Avg. monthly usage (kWh) Avg. bill
New Mexico 12.95 615 79.64
Utah 10.93 745 81.43
Illinois 12.47 692 86.29
Colorado 12.91 678 87.53
Vermont 17.05 538 91.73
Idaho 9.88 1,000 98.80
Maine 18.11 546 98.88
Wisconsin 15.01 660 99.07
Ohio 11.84 841 99.57
Washington 9.86 1,023 100.87

Digging into those numbers provides some surprises, including at the top of the list. New Mexico residents pay 12.95 cents/kWh for electricity – the 17th 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 lowest residential electricity rates for the month – Louisiana, 9.68 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 are more than 30 percent higher – 31.17 cents/kWh – than the next highest state, so even the nation’s lowest average usage doesn’t save residents from the highest bills – nearly twice the average in New Mexico.

Following are the states with the highest electricity bills:

State September Avg. monthly usage (kWh) Avg. bill
Hawaii 31.17 506 157.72
Connecticut 21.54 690 148.63
Alabama 12.71 1,136 144.39
Alaska 23.89 601 143.58
South Carolina 12.87 1,082 139.25
North Dakota 12.46 1,063 132.45
Florida 12.11 1,089 131.88
Texas 11.85 1,112 131.77
Rhode Island 22.65 577 130.69
Arizona 12.44 1,033 128.51

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

State September rate (cents/kWh) Avg. monthly usage (kWh) Avg. bill Cost ranking
Alabama 12.71 1,136 144.39 48
Alaska 23.89 601 143.58 47
Arizona 12.44 1,033 128.51 41
Arkansas 10.05 1,028 103.31 13
California 20.72 554 114.79 26
Colorado 12.91 678 87.53 4
Connecticut 21.54 690 148.63 49
Delaware 12.83 912 117.01 29
Florida 12.11 1,089 131.88 44
Georgia 11.65 1,062 123.72 36
Hawaii 31.17 506 157.72 50
Idaho 9.88 1,000 98.80 6
Illinois 12.47 692 86.29 3
Indiana 12.22 928 113.40 25
Iowa 13.86 831 115.18 28
Kansas 12.77 861 109.95 20
Kentucky 10.58 1,052 111.30 23
Louisiana 9.68 1,187 114.90 27
Maine 18.11 546 98.88 7
Maryland 12.83 940 120.60 32
Massachusetts 22.02 583 128.38 40
Michigan 16.37 633 103.62 14
Minnesota 14.02 748 104.87 17
Mississippi 10.97 1,132 124.18 37
Missouri 11.15 994 110.83 22
Montana 12.07 865 104.41 16
Nebraska 12.33 957 118.00 30
Nevada 12.16 854 103.85 15
New Hampshire 20.28 599 121.48 34
New Jersey 15.48 654 101.24 11
New Mexico 12.95 615 79.64 1
New York 18.72 572 107.08 18
North Carolina 11.8 1,042 122.96 35
North Dakota 12.46 1,063 132.45 45
Ohio 11.84 841 99.57 9
Oklahoma 10.64 1,039 110.55 21
Oregon 11.27 969 109.21 19
Pennsylvania 14.02 805 112.86 24
Rhode Island 22.65 577 130.69 42
South Carolina 12.87 1,082 139.25 46
South Dakota 12.9 978 126.16 38
Tennessee 10.52 1,150 120.98 33
Texas 11.85 1,112 131.77 43
Utah 10.93 745 81.43 2
Vermont 17.05 538 91.73 5
Virginia 11.9 1,078 128.28 39
Washington 9.86 1,023 100.87 10
West Virginia 11.67 1,026 119.73 31
Wisconsin 15.01 660 99.07 8
Wyoming 12.09 854 103.25 12
U.S. average 13.17 867 114.18

How have electricity bills changed since last year?

Bills in Iowa increased by the greatest percentage from a year ago, going up 8.0 percent year over year – meaning residents paid about $8.50 more for electricity in September 2019. Bills increased year-over-year in 28 states.

State 2019 avg bill 2018 avg bill % change
Iowa 115.18 106.62 8.0
Maine 98.88 92.11 7.4
California 114.79 106.98 7.3
Michigan 103.62 96.91 6.9
Alaska 143.58 135.77 5.8
Florida 131.88 124.91 5.6
Utah 81.43 77.85 4.6
Montana 104.41 99.91 4.5
Delaware 117.01 112.08 4.4
Texas 131.77 126.66 4.0

Vermont bills decreased the most compared with last year – 5.3 percent.

State 2019 avg. bill 2018 avg. bill % change
Vermont 91.73 96.84 -5.3
Georgia 123.72 129.35 -4.4
Idaho 98.80 102.60 -3.7
Hawaii 157.72 163.34 -3.4
Maryland 120.60 124.83 -3.4
Indiana 113.40 117.21 -3.2
Arizona 128.51 132.53 -3.0
New York 107.08 110.28 -2.9
Oklahoma 110.55 113.67 -2.7
Kentucky 111.30 114.35 -2.7

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 Nov. 27, 2019)