When you look at your monthly electricity bill, you probably focus on the number with a dollar sign in front of it. But there’s another value listed: how much energy you actually used.
If you are a perfectly average American living in a perfectly average household, your monthly electricity bill will read 911 kilowatt hours (kWh), which costs $114.
But most of us don’t live in perfectly average households. (The state that comes closest to matching the average monthly electricity usage is Ohio).
Depending on whether a state is hot or cold, urban or rural, an average household can use as little as 506 kWh a month (Hawaii) or as much as 1,291 kWh (Louisiana). Costs vary state-by-state, too. Hawaiians, even though they use the least, pay the most for electricity ($188 a month) and New Mexicans pay the least ($78 a month).
As for our Inside Energy focus states:
- Colorado homes use 687 kWh and spend $84 per month
- North Dakota homes use 1,240 kWh and spend $113 a month
- Wyoming homes use 863 kWh and spend $91 a month
How is energy use and cost changing? Nationwide, average monthly electricity use rose 8 kWh per household between 2012 and 2014 and prices rose three-quarters of a cent per kWh. As a result, average monthly bills went up about $7 per household between 2012 and 2014.
How does your electricity bill measure up?
A kilowatt hour isn’t an intuitive unit, so we also have a post explaining what you can do with a month’s worth of electricity.
Editor’s note: This post was originally published on May 22, 2014 and included 2012 data. We published an updated version with 2014 data on October 27, 2015.
Data source: Energy Information Administration, 2012 and 2014