By Chris Carson
Comparing your electricity bill to others in the area, or nationwide, won’t make it any lower or any less painful, but can be interesting. Also, comparing with the average in your area can help you recognize if you need to try some conservation measures to lower your energy consumption. The Energy Information Agency issues figures on a lot of issues related to energy.
The average electricity bill nationally is $95.66, with average consumption being 920 Kilowatt hours (kWh), and the average price per kWh being 10.4 cents. Compare how you measure in reference to others and it can suggest how you are doing energy-wise. If your bill is way above the average, look at kwhs used. If it is way above, then you might be wasting energy. But, that is not necessarily true. A number of factors affect both consumption and cost of electricity in your household and region of the country.
National average costs per kWh by state or region ranges from a low of 7.58/kwh to a high of 24.20/kwh. The overall average nationwide is 11.51/kwh. Different regions vary in average costs per kWh. This can be due to a number of factors, some being fuel costs to produce the electricity, whether energy must be purchased from other states, and the amount of consumption based on weather conditions.
The breakdown of average kWh prices are: New England–17.47; Middle Atlantic -14.84; East North Central – 10.92; West North Central – i9.14; South Atlantic – 11.32; East South Central – 9.61; Mountain – 10.18; Pacific Contiguous – 12.15; Pacific Noncontiguous – 21.31.
One factor that affects the overall amount of your electric bill is the source of the energy to produce the power. Cost is not the only factor, however. The ecological cost is a big factor. Renewable sources can save big so far as conservation is concerned. The renewable sources include: hydropower, biomass, biofuels, wind generation, geothermal, and solar energy. Each year these alternatives sources are used in increasing numbers. In 2008, the percentage of electricity that was produced from these sources was 19%. It is estimated that it will increase to 23% by 2035.
Remember to compare apples to oranges. Compare the amount on your electric bill to others in your state or region. If yours is well below the average, maybe you should teach a class in your area to help others. If it is way above that average, then maybe you should be taking that class. There are many ways to conserve energy. Check for options, and pursue them to decrease your charges. Even if you are near or below the average, if you can decrease it even more, go for it.
One possible solution to lowering your costs is to contact your power company. Most have excellent printed resources. They will have materials specific to the needs of your region. In addition, most all of them will do an energy audit to help you discover where your energy consumption is more than the normal.
You can also research online for energy conservation suggestions. It may mean you need to replace old windows, or old appliances that are not energy efficient. Tax credits are available to offset some of the installation costs. The changes can mean a lowered electric bill. Think of what you could do with that saved money.
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