$3.95 Daily

Posted April 26, 2017:

The average cost of residential electric service is back down to under four dollars per day.

The Labor Department releases results semi-annually from its massive Consumer Expenditure Survey of seven thousand households. And it did so last week for the twelve-month period through June 2016.

Americans’ electric bills now average $3.95 daily. For the prior twelve-month mid-year period, through June 2015, the average was $4.02.

As usual, the averages vary substantially based on region.

Americans in the West pay $3.38 daily for residential electric service on average. Those in the Midwest average $3.53. Those in the Northeast average $3.58.

Those in the South average $4.69. Due to the greater use of air-conditioning, the South’s average is always above the national average.

And, as usual, the averages vary substantially based on income.

The electric bills of the lowest fifth of U.S. households, in terms of income before taxes, average $2.74 daily. While the highest fifth of households, in income, average $5.22, almost twice as much.

There are also large differences between renters and homeowners, and between those in the central city and in rural areas.

The electric bills of households that rent average $2.78 daily. While homeowners average $4.66.

The electric bills of households in the central city average $3.41 daily. While those in rural areas average $4.66 (coincidentally the same number as the homeowner average).

Consider a household is in the West. It’s low-income, and a central city rental. It’s daily average electric bill is likely not much above two dollars.

On the other hand, consider a household is in the South. It’s high-income, and a rural owned home. It’s daily average bill is likely well above five dollars.

Number-crunching and insights by the magazine for commentary, opinion and debate on utility regulation and policy since 1928, Public Utilities Fortnightly.

Steve Mitnick, Editor-in-Chief, Public Utilities Fortnightly
E-mail me: mitnick@fortnightly.com