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

May 28, 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 June Report, using the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s data for March, shows that Utah 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 March 2020 rate (cents/kWh) Avg. monthly usage (kWh) Avg. bill
Utah 10.16 745 75.69
New Mexico 12.47 615 76.69
Colorado 12.04 678 81.63
Maine 16.53 546 90.25
Illinois 13.17 692 91.14
Wyoming 10.71 854 91.46
Minnesota 12.85 748 96.12
Idaho 9.64 1,000 96.40
Wisconsin 14.73 660 97.22
Montana 11.32 865 97.92

Digging into those numbers provides some surprises, including at the top of the list. Utah residents pay 10.16 cents/kWh for electricity – the 8th-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, 9.08 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 – 33.10 cents/kWh – are roughly 42 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 Utah.

Following are the states with the highest electricity bills:

State March 2020 rate (cents/kWh) Avg. monthly usage (kWh) Avg. bill
Hawaii 33.10 506 167.49
Connecticut 23.30 690 160.77
Alabama 12.77 1,136 145.07
South Carolina 12.79 1,082 138.39
Texas 12.09 1,112 134.44
Rhode Island 23.25 577 134.15
Alaska 22.32 601 134.14
Massachusetts 22.80 583 132.92
Virginia 12.27 1,078 132.27
Mississippi 11.54 1,132 130.63

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

State March 2020 rate (cents/kWh) Avg. monthly usage (kWh) Avg. bill Cost ranking
Alabama 12.77 1,136 145.07 48
Alaska 22.32 601 134.14 44
Arizona 12.16 1,033 125.61 38
Arkansas 10.13 1,028 104.14 20
California 20.49 554 113.51 31
Colorado 12.04 678 81.63 3
Connecticut 23.30 690 160.77 49
Delaware 12.95 912 118.10 33
Florida 11.64 1,089 126.76 39
Georgia 11.40 1,062 121.07 34
Hawaii 33.10 506 167.49 50
Idaho 9.64 1,000 96.40 8
Illinois 13.17 692 91.14 5
Indiana 12.19 928 113.12 29
Iowa 12.40 831 103.04 18
Kansas 12.68 861 109.17 26
Kentucky 10.76 1,052 113.20 30
Louisiana 9.08 1,187 107.78 25
Maine 16.53 546 90.25 4
Maryland 13.59 940 127.75 40
Massachusetts 22.80 583 132.92 43
Michigan 16.05 633 101.60 16
Minnesota 12.85 748 96.12 7
Mississippi 11.54 1,132 130.63 41
Missouri 9.99 994 99.30 14
Montana 11.32 865 97.92 10
Nebraska 10.55 957 100.96 15
Nevada 12.12 854 103.50 19
New Hampshire 18.97 599 113.63 32
New Jersey 16.14 654 105.56 22
New Mexico 12.47 615 76.69 2
New York 17.17 572 98.21 12
North Carolina 11.68 1,042 121.71 35
North Dakota 10.00 1,063 106.30 24
Ohio 11.78 841 99.07 13
Oklahoma 9.84 1,039 102.24 17
Oregon 10.95 969 106.11 23
Pennsylvania 13.75 805 110.69 28
Rhode Island 23.25 577 134.15 45
South Carolina 12.79 1,082 138.39 47
South Dakota 11.18 978 109.34 27
Tennessee 10.81 1,150 124.32 37
Texas 12.09 1,112 134.44 46
Utah 10.16 745 75.69 1
Vermont 19.60 538 105.45 21
Virginia 12.27 1,078 132.27 42
Washington 9.60 1,023 98.21 11
West Virginia 11.98 1,026 122.91 36
Wisconsin 14.73 660 97.22 9
Wyoming 10.71 854 91.46 6
U.S. average 13.08 867 113.40

How have electricity bills changed since last year?

Bills in Vermont increased by the greatest percentage from a year ago, going up 15 percent year over year – meaning residents paid about $14 more for electricity in March 2020. Bills increased year-over-year in 32 states.
Following are the states where rates increased the most:

State March 2020 bill March 2019 bill % change
Vermont 105.45 91.73 15.0
West Virginia 122.91 112.55 9.2
Nebraska 100.96 93.79 7.7
Iowa 103.04 95.73 7.6
California 113.51 107.03 6.1
Arkansas 104.14 98.59 5.6
Michigan 101.60 96.34 5.5
South Dakota 109.34 104.06 5.1
Missouri 99.30 94.53 5.0
Montana 97.92 93.25 5.0

Maine bills decreased the most compared with last year – 8.5 percent.

State March 2020 bill March 2019 bill % change
Maine 90.25 98.61 -8.5
New Hampshire 113.63 120.76 -5.9
Ohio 99.07 102.18 -3.0
Hawaii 167.49 171.69 -2.4
Louisiana 107.78 110.27 -2.3
Florida 126.76 128.94 -1.7
Arizona 125.61 127.47 -1.5
Kansas 109.17 110.55 -1.2
Nevada 103.50 104.79 -1.2
Wyoming 91.46 92.49 -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 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 May 28, 2020)