American’s Electrical Bills Skyrocket, but Usage Remains Level

In 2022, American consumers faced the highest electricity costs in more than 40 years due to inflation, a rebounding economy, and fuel-related repercussions from the Ukraine war. It appears the worst is not over.

A newly released study from Ownerly analyzed 12 months of Energy Information Administration (EIA) data and found the increase in out-of-pocket consumer spending exceeded 22 billion—not all related to an increase in usage.

Ownerly examined electricity price data between October 2021 and September 2022 to identify which states paid the most in 2022, which states saw the greatest percentage increase from the previous year, and where overall electric costs increased the most. The time period of our analysis also coincides with the highest inflation rates Americans have seen in four decades.

Americans generally used the same amount of electricity over the course of a year as they did the previous year, despite energy use being highly seasonal. However, this does not provide much comfort for consumers who are facing high electricity costs, as the factors that are causing the price increases show no signs of easing.”

“The last six months have been even worse for residential energy bills than the previous six months,” said Ownerly data analyst Darcy McCusker. “Nine states, including Hawaii, Texas, Oklahoma, and New Hampshire, have had increases of $30 or more per month since April alone, and just over half of all states have seen a percentage increase of at least 10%.”

  • Hawaii and Connecticut had the highest monthly electric bills in 2022; Utah and New Mexico had the lowest. Hawaiians paid, on average, $210.26 a month, followed by  Connecticut ($173.16), Alabama ($164.62), Georgia  ($153.45), and Texas ($152.83).
  • Hawaii had the greatest dollar increase in energy costs, but Maine had the highest bill increase. While monthly bills went up $38.08 in Hawaii, Maine saw the highest bill increase over the 12 months we examined, paying 31.26% more monthly than the previous year.
  • Prices in Wyoming and Oregon actually dropped in 2022. Not all states saw a monthly rise in electric bills: monthly average bills dropped slightly in Wyoming (-79¢) and Oregon (-24¢).

How To Lower Your Electric Bill

Turn Everything Off

One of the biggest wastes of power today is mobile device chargers. When not in use, unplug them. Small amounts of energy still trickle through the charger, which causes a drain on your bill. They are like little vampires sucking your power while you are sleeping.

When you leave a room, turn the TV off. Turn the computers off. Turn the lights off.

Buy Energy-Smart Appliances

Obviously, you can’t go out and buy all new appliances, but when it comes time to replace your existing appliances, look for big appliances that are energy-smart and have good sleep or energy-saving modes.

Use Fewer Appliances

Even better than using smarter appliances is using fewer appliances altogether. You can do this by removing some appliances you rarely use (think microwave or blender) or replacing them with an electric-free version. For example, you can buy a stove-top kettle (if you don’t have an electric stove) or use a drying rack or clothesline to hang your clothes instead of using your dryer.

Shop Smart

When shopping, try to buy energy-smart items. Appliances, outlets, power cords, and light bulbs all come in a “smart” form. They all can help save electricity in their own ways. For instance, you can set up a smart light bulb to turn on when you enter a room and turn off when you leave.

Adjust Your TV Settings

Smart TVs have a few settings that need to be changed to save on the power bill. You may lose some of the settings’ convenience, but the bill will show the difference. One setting that you need to turn off is the sleep mode feature. Sleep mode allows the TV to turn on faster but keeps the unit on all the time.

The second change that you need to make is the automatic brightness adjustment. Smart TVs can adjust the brightness automatically to match the room lighting. Once again, this makes viewing movies easier, but it adds to your electric bill. Turn it to one brightness and leave it alone.

Watch Your Thermostat

Your thermostat settings can save you some big money.  If you have your house warm in the winter, turn it down a few degrees. If you get chilly, put on a sweater. If you like a cool house in the summer, turn it down, so the temperature goes up by a little. If you get too hot, strip down or find other ways to cool off.

Eventually, your body should adjust to the slight change in temperature.  You like it 68 in the summer, so your body should be alright with 68 in the winter.

Weatherize Your Home

Spend the time, and the money, to properly weatherize your house. Energy-efficient windows and doors help maintain the set temperature within a room. Don’t forget to repair and clean the heating and cooling ducts. Insulate the areas that need it. Lay carpet or rugs throughout the house to help trap the heat and keep your room a little warmer.

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Hi! I am a millennial mom with a passion for personal finance. I have always been “into” personal finance but got inspired to start my blog after a period of extended unemployment. That experience really changed the way I viewed my relationship with money and the importance of accessible personal finance education.