Sizing Up Home Owners’ Greatest Utility Cost

March 16, 2015

The most expensive utility bill for home owners: The electric bill.

That electric bill often accounts for about 9 percent of housing expenditure, according to an analysis by the National Association of Home Builders, which studied data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and U.S. Department of Energy.

The average residential monthly electric bill was $110.21 in 2013, according to the latest release from the U.S. Department of Energy.

Those averages vary widely by state. The West-South-Central states (including Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Texas) had the highest average monthly electric bill at $126.75.

On the other hand, Pacific states (including California, Oregon, and Washington) had the lowest at $90.84

Overall, the state with the highest average monthly electric bill was Hawaii, at $190.36 – nearly 2.5 times the average electric bill in New Mexico. New Mexico had the lowest state average in 2013 at $76.56.

Price doesn’t always meet consumption either. The state with the lowest average monthly consumption was in Hawaii at 515 kilowatt hours. Meanwhile, the state with the highest average monthly consumption was Louisiana at 1,273 kilowatt hours.

"Although climate plays a significant role in consumption, and production a significant role in pricing, the age of the housing stock also plays a role," according a new blog post at NAHB’s Eye on Housing. "Newer homes tend to be more energy efficient than older homes."

A NAHB analysis found that newer homes and homes built in the previous 10 years use less energy than older homes. 

Source: "Average Monthly Electric Bill by State – 2013," National Association of Home Builders’ Eye on Housing blog (March 12, 2015) and "Electric Sales, Revenue, and Average Price,"U.S. Energy Information Administration (Feb. 19, 2015)