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How Much Is the Average Electric Bill?

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the average monthly residential electric bill for Americans was $111.67 in 2017 – the latest year the organization has data for. However, several factors such as location and home size will affect the price of your electric bills. We’ll tell you all you need to know about the average cost of your electric bills. We’ll also explore some ways you can cut down on energy costs. We can also help you find a financial advisor to guide you through every aspect of your financial life.

The Average Electric Bill

In 2017, the average residential monthly electric bill was $111.67 in 2017, according to the Energy Information Administration (EIA).

If you break down electric bills to kilowatt per hour, it translates to about 13 cents. However, electricity bill prices can vary widely across different parts of the country.

In fact, electric bills tend to climb from North to South and from the West Coast to the East Coast. If you live in a region with more cooling degree days, you can expect your electric bill to be higher than those in places with less of these days.

Prices also vary by state based on consumption levels. The one that consumed the most in 2017 was Louisiana. The price of electricity use in the U.S. in 2017 ranged from 8.66 cents per kilowatt hour to 37 cents per kilowatt hour.

Breaking Down the Average Electric Bill

How Much Is the Average Electric Bill?

Multiple factors affect the size of your electric bill. But the two most important things that determine how much you pay are energy consumption and electricity rates.

The more people you have in your household, the more electricity you’ll likely use. So if your cousin or your best friend from college plans to shack up with you for a month, be prepared. You could see a more expensive electric bill. If you can’t decide whether to buy a house or continue renting, consider the fact that you’ll probably see your electric bill go up if you choose to become a homeowner.

Check out our rent vs. buy calculator.

Weather plays a role as well. You might pay the most for power in the summer when rates are higher due to an increased demand for electricity and the higher cost that comes with needing to generate more electricity. If bad weather knocks down power lines or more people need to use electricity to keep themselves warm during a snowstorm, your bill could be higher than normal.

Electricity rates can also change depending on fuel costs and the cost of delivering electricity and keeping power plants running. While the price of supplying electricity can rise and fall from one minute to the next, in most cases, that cost is based on seasonal averages. Rates differ by region and state due to factors like differences in climate, ease of distribution, local price regulations and access to natural gas.

The electricity rates that utility companies charge are measured in kilowatt-hours. A single kilowatt-hour provides enough power to keep a 100-watt light bulb shining for 10 hours. That’s the equivalent of using a computer for five to 10 hours and watching 10 hours of TV.

How to Lower Your Monthly Bill

If you’re sick of spending a large chunk of your income on electricity, you can do something about it. It’s a good idea to keep track of your electric bills so you can see how your prices vary over time, particularly if your rates aren’t fixed. If a competitor offers better rates, you might want to consider switching over.

If your utility company charges different rates at different times of the day, that’s something that you’ll need to be aware of. For example, electricity rates tend to be higher earlier in the evening and in the afternoon.  That’s because the demand for energy tends to be higher then. Using less electricity during those hours might reduce your bill significantly.

Believe it or not, your devices can use up electricity as long as they’re plugged in, even if they’re turned off. Certain appliances and electronics, like computers, suck up more energy than others when they’re on standby mode.

Plugging devices into surge protectors that you turn off can make a big difference. So can washing clothes in cold water, turning down your thermostat and buying energy efficient bulbs and appliances. There are even apps like MyEarth that make it easy to monitor your energy consumption.

Related Article: States Leading the Charge on Renewable Energy

The Takeaway

How Much Is the Average Electric Bill?

Based on the numbers, we can predict that average electricity rates will rise in the near future for households across the country. While the prices that your electricity provider charges might be high, you can economize. It’s possible to reduce the size of your electric bill by making a conscious effort to unplug what you’re not using and picking up other habits that save energy.

Savings Tips

  • If you want to cut back on more than just electricity, create a budget and see where you can reduce your spending. Our budget calculator and savings calculator can help.
  • And if saving money is at the forefront of your mind, you might also consider working with a financial advisor. A financial advisor can help you with tax planning, income planning and retirement planning. This expert can help ensure you’re making the best financial decisions along the way. The SmartAsset advisor matching tool can help you find a person to work with to meet your needs. First you’ll answer a series of questions about your situation and your goals. Then, the program will narrow down your options to up to three financial advisors. You can then read their profiles to learn more about them and interview them on the phone or in person. Then you can choose which one to work with in the future.

Photo credit: ©iStock.com/peteholyoak, ©iStock.com/stocknroll, ©iStock.com/Prachob Champawong

Amanda Dixon Amanda Dixon is a personal finance writer and editor with an expertise in taxes and banking. She studied journalism and sociology at the University of Georgia. Her work has been featured in Business Insider, AOL, Bankrate, The Huffington Post, Fox Business News, Mashable and CBS News. Born and raised in metro Atlanta, Amanda currently lives in Brooklyn.
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