Your Electricity Bill Explained: Charges, Fees How They’re Calculated

The key to understanding your electric bill is understanding your energy costs and the line items that are shown on your bill. Grab a copy of your electricity bill, or find a sample electric bill from the supplier you will be using (your bill may come from your utility). Each bill is typically broken down into several home energy charges, which might vary slightly from your supplier or utility.

The Most And Least Expensive States For Utilities

Along with the above list and using 2018 data, put together a list of the 10 states in which the combined cost of utilities were the highest as well as one for the 10 states where they were the most affordable.

Here were the 10 states in which utility costs were the highest each month:

1. Hawaii: The big culprits in Hawaii are electricity and natural gas, both of which rank as the most expensive in the United States. Electricity costs an average of $300.04 a month while natural gas costs $232.20. That helps account for Hawaii’s high $730.86 average utility cost each month. 

2. Alaska: said that Alaska residents paid more for internet service in 2018 than the residents of any other state, an average of $107.43 a month.

3. Rhode Island: Natural gas and internet costs rank high in Rhode Island; fourth and second in the nation, respectively.

4. Connecticut: Natural gas costs an average of $114.11 each month here, higher than in most states. Connecticut’s average $187.29 electricity bill is high, too, ranking third-highest in the country.

5. New York: New York residents pay an average of $173.84 a month in electric costs. This helps explain why the state’s average monthly utility costs rank so high.

6. New Hampshire: Electricity and natural gas costs are higher than average in New Hampshire at $169.35 and $107.67 respectively.

7. South Carolina: South Carolina residents pay a lot for natural gas, an average of $150.03 a month, according to .

8. Massachusetts: The electric bills are high in Massachusetts, ranking fourth in the country at an average of $185.05 per month.

9.Vermont: Vermont residents face higher-than-average monthly electricity and natural gas bills at $160.20 and $110.43. That combination puts this state in ninth place on this list.

10. Maine: Maine brings up the rear of the states in which utilities cost the most. Maine residents who are wondering why they’re in 10th place merely have to look at their natural gas and electricity bills, which are $146.30 and $132.04 on average.

If you’re looking for smaller monthly bills, consider moving to one of these 10 states. ranks them as the states with the smallest average monthly utility bills.

1. Idaho: The Gem State is the place to live if you’re interested in paying the least for utilities. According to ‘s list, natural gas is particularly cheap here, averaging $52.89 a month in 2018. Electricity is pretty cheap, too, costing an average of just $93.82 a month (the fifth-cheapest in the country).

2. Utah: In Utah, electricity, natural gas and internet service all rank below average. Natural gas costs are the second most affordable in the country at $52.33 a month.

3. Montana: Montana ranks as the third-cheapest state for utility costs thanks to natural gas costing just $52.12 a month on average in 2018, the single most affordable rate in the country.

4. Washington: says that internet costs in Washington are expensive, but ultra-cheap electricity and natural gas costs make up for that, earning Washington the title as fourth-cheapest state for utility costs.

5. Nevada: Affordable natural gas costs are again a main factor for Nevada, which ranks as the fifth most affordable state in America for utility costs. Electricity is pretty inexpensive here as well, coming in at just $101.71 per month on average in 2018.

6. Louisiana: Louisiana claimed the smallest average monthly electric bill in 2018, $86.83. Mostly because of this, the state ranked as the sixth-most affordable when it came to monthly utility bills.

7. Oregon: Residents of Oregon are fortunate to pay below-average monthly fees for both electricity and natural gas. Thanks to this, the state has one of the lowest monthly utility costs in the country.

8. South Dakota: While their electricity costs aren’t particularly low, residents of South Dakota don’t pay as much for internet service or natural gas as most of their peers across the country.

9. Arkansas: The average monthly electric bill in Arkansas is the one of the lowest in the country, ranking in 48th place at $89.52. The state’s average internet bill at $51.04 a month also ranked as 48th in the United States.

10. Wisconsin: Monthly electric bills were among the highest in Wisconsin in 2018, but both internet access and natural gas costs were far below the national average.

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Average Monthly Electric Bill By State

How average are you when it comes to the amount you pay for electricity each month? A good way to determine this is to study how your average electricity bill compares to other consumers in your state.

Here’s a look at the average 2019 monthly electric bill in every state courtesy of the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Alabama: $150.45

Alaska: $127.29

Arizona: $126.09

Arkansas: $109.46

California: $101.92

Colorado: $83.07

Connecticut: $150.71

Delaware: $119.16

Florida: $129.65

Georgia: $131.84

Hawaii: $168.21

Idaho: $93.83

Illinois: $92.37

Indiana: $120.74

Iowa: $108.04

Kansas: $113.26

Kentucky: $120.08

Louisiana: $120.70

Maine: $100.53

Maryland: $127.92

Massachusetts: $125.89

Michigan: $100.23

Minnesota: $99.02

Mississippi: $135.87

Missouri: $117.82

Montana: $95.43

Nebraska: $108.08

Nevada: $106.83

New Hampshire: $120.04

New Jersey: $105.07

New Mexico: $80.04

New York: $103.60

North Carolina: $123.25

North Dakota: $114.27

Ohio: $108.15

Oregon: $100.35

Oklahoma: $113.93

Pennsylvania: $115.47

Rhode Island: $121.62

South Carolina: $144.73

South Dakota: $120.60

Tennessee: $132.33

Texas: $134.07

Utah: $75.63

Vermont: $97.18

Virginia: $135.46

Washington: $94.49

West Virginia: $121.90

Wisconsin: $95.52

Wyoming: $96.53

What Is the Average Water Bill?

The average person uses roughly 85 gallons of wate

The average person uses roughly 85 gallons of water per day, which is split between the bathtub, toilet, washer and shower, as well as the water used for dishwashing, hygiene, drinking water and outdoor use. And, while utilities like water, sewage or garbage are often included in the rent, several other services related to water and sewer provision may also be part of a local bill — such as the clean water program, the drinking water program, stormwater policies and more.

So, before signing the lease, ask your landlord whether the water bill is included in rent. If it’s paid separately, then you’re looking at an average water bill of about $39 monthly — and, again, depending on where you live, this price can change. If you add an average sewer bill, you’re looking at an extra $55 monthly. On top of this, a small fee may also be added to your bill for garbage collection, but your rent or city fees most likely already include this amount.

How is the Average Electricity Bill Calculated?

Depending on your state or municipality there may be taxes or other charges to consider but a good rule of thumb is that:

Average Kilowatt Hours Used x Average Cents per Kilowatt Hour ÷ 100 = Average Electric Bill

A Kilowatt Hour is a measure of the electricity you use per hour to power your heating, lighting, cooling, appliances, devices, washer, dryer, and any other household items. If you are looking at your energy bill, you may see the short form of kilowatt-hour displayed as kWh along with the electricity rate displayed as cents per kWh or ¢ per kWh.

For example, if your television uses 0.20 kilowatts per hour and you use your television 4 hours per day, you will have used 24-kilowatt hours by the end of the month. (0.20 kWh x 4 hours per day x 30 days = 24 kWh)If your average cost of electricity is 10 cents per kilowatt-hour, your television costs you $2.40 for that month.  (24 kWh x 10 cents per kilowatt-hour ÷ 100 = $2.40)

Related Post: Common Energy Myths to Know About

How Much is the Average Water Bill?

The average monthly water bill is around $28 for a single adult and $116 per month for a family household.

Water use and cost is measured per 1,000 gallons. The average cost of water per 1,000 gallons sits at $11.48.

Additionally, the average American is estimated to use 82 gallons of water a day at home. Combined, this data suggests that the average single American racks up a $.94 water use debt daily.

How to Save Money on Your Water Bill

Careless water usage can not only affect your water bill, but it can have detrimental effects on the environment.

Here's how you can reduce your water usage.

  • Invest in a dishwasher. Handwashing dishes can use up to 27 gallons of water, whereas using a dishwasher uses just 3 gallons of water per load.
  • Consider getting an ENERGY STAR certified washing machine: Using an ENERGY STAR certified washing machine can result in 25% less energy use and 33% less water usage than a regular washer.
  • Fix a running toliet Running toilets are those that continuously use water to fill the toilet bowl. These toilets need repairing or replacement, since can cause a loss of up to 26 gallons of water per day.
  • Take shorter showers. A single bath can use up to 50 gallons of water, whereas a 10-minute shower can use as little as 25 gallons of water.

How Much Does Heating and Cooling Your Apartment Cost?

Nearly half of the money spent on an average electricity/gas bill covers heating and air conditioning costs. This averages to over $900 a year for the average American household.

Here's a few tips that’ll help you save big on your heating bill.

  • Invest in a smart thermostat. A smart thermostat reduces unnecessary heating and cooling costs by giving you more control over the settings. Some electricity providers offer incentives for customers who install compliant smart thermostats, so it’s a bonus win.
  • Heat your home more effectively. Unless you live in a place that experiences freezing temperatures, you may get away with reducing your heating costs by simply bunding up a bit more in the cooler months.
  • Don’t rely on A/C alone to cool your home. Limit A/C use by employing other, more eco- and budget-friendly options. Keep your windows open at night to let in cooler air. Then close them during the day to keep warm air out. If possible, keep one room cool and spend more time in there, rather than trying to cool your entire apartment.

Ask the Previous Tenants

The one number that will tell you the most about your expected electricity costs is the amount that the current or previous occupant paid for electricity in your future home. If you’re searching for the normal electric bill for an apartment, simply ask the landlord or property manager if they can estimate the cost of the monthly electric bill. If you can ask the current or previous tenants, that’s even better. When house hunting, ask the same questions to the real estate agent or seller.

With a little luck, you’ll be able to obtain totals (or at least estimates) for the previous year’s electric bills. Be sure to inquire about bills from the middle of summer (and winter, if the furnace is electric), because HVAC costs are usually the biggest drivers of residential energy consumption.

Unless the previous tenant or owner was unusually frugal or excessive with their electricity use, it’s reasonable to assume that your bills will be within $20 to $30 per month of theirs.

Non-energy-related utilities and their costs

Of course, there’s more to utility costs than just energy. How much are utilities in non-energy areas?

  • Trash/recycling: Curbside trash and recycling services are often included in city or town fees. But those paying independently should budget $10-$40/month.
  • Water: In 2016, American households spent, on average, $15-$77 a month for water, according to the research group Circle of Blue, which focuses on environmental issues.
  • Landline: Many people rely on mobile phones, but for those wanting a landline or needing it for internet service, expect to pay $15-$45 a month; the higher cost includes long-distance services. If you prefer to use the internet for making phone calls, voiceover IP service bundles are another option and cost around $20 a month, depending on the number of minutes you purchase in your VoIP plan.
  • Internet/cable/phone: A triple package of internet, cable, and phone services average $165 per month; without the phone, the average is $132 a month. Online media-streaming services are an alternative to paying for cable, and they cost an average of $10 per month compared to $60 for a basic cable package.

Breaking Down 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 you should expect to see increases in your electric bill if you plan to have guests staying with you for an extended period of time. 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.

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 for air conditioning. If bad weather knocks down power lines or more people need to use electricity to keep themselves warm during a snowstorm in the winter, your bill could also 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.

Bottom Line

The average electric bill has increased quite a bit over the last few years (from $111.67 in 2017 to $117.46 in 2020). Based on the numbers, we can expect that average electricity rates will continue to rise in the near future for households across the country unless you take steps to lower your bill. It’s possible to reduce the size of your electric bill by making a conscious effort to unplug what you’re not using, picking up other habits that save energy, or by using renewable energy sources.

The Average Electric Bill in the United States

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), theaverage electric bill in 2018 was $117.65. The average amount of electricity used was 914-kilowatt hours and the average cost of electricity was 12.87 cents per kilowatt-hour.

  • Customers inTennessee use the most electricity– 1,283 kilowatt hours to be exact.
  • Customers inHawaii pay the highest rateat 32.47¢ per kilowatt-hour and have the highest average electric bill at $168.13. Fortunately, customers in Hawaii also use the least electricity – 518-kilowatt hours.
  • At the other end of the spectrum, customers inLouisiana have the lowest average costof electricity at 9.59¢ per kilowatt-hour.
  • Residents of Utah have the lowest average electric bill at $77.25.

Average Utility Bills by City

Making a move to a new city, and not sure how much your new utility bill will be? Find out how much the average utility costs will be in your next home to properly map out your monthly budget.

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Cities Average Electricity Bill Average Gas Bill Average Water Bill Average Fuel Bill Total Average Utility Bill New York, NY$144.72$83.44$39.70$15.80$283.65Los Angeles, CA$139.16$47.38$58.68$0.45$245.67Chicago, IL$110.49$79.70$47.92$0.58$238.69Dallas, TX$169.77$31.15$59.63$0.50$261.05Houston, TX$165.16$28.30$46.20$0.49$240.15Philadelphia, PA$144.67$71.84$48.82$13.46$278.80Atlanta, GA$149.91$58.15$40.86$0.86$249.78Washington, DC$144.79$54.36$47.41$4.50$251.06Miami, FL$160.05$5.72$52.87$0.33$218.97Boston, MA$144.90$79.25$49.16$29.57$302.88

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How can I reduce how much my energy bills will cost?

There are simple and inexpensive ways to scale back how much energy you use. You could even consider some options which may involve a short-term cost now with the promise of long-term savings in the future.

Energy-saving measures include:

  • Turning the thermostat down by a single degree
  • Washing clothes at a cooler temperature
  • Turning off any appliances left on stand-by mode
  • Swapping older incandescent light bulbs to energy-saving alternatives
  • Draught proofing
  • Choosing the most energy-efficient models you can when purchasing new appliances.

You may also be eligible for a grant from the government for improvements to make your home more energy-efficient.

Moving from One State to Another: The Difference in Utilities Costs

If you’re thinking of moving from one state to another, learning about the difference in apartment utilities cost can help you in designing your budget. We’ve created this calculator to help you get an idea of average utility prices in different states.

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