Finder is committed to editorial independence. While we receive compensation when you click links to partners, they do not influence our content.

Energy costs by state

Which states have the most expensive and cheapest energy costs?

The cost of energy might not be the top item to consider when deciding on a new city or state to live in. But it’s something to keep in mind as energy costs across the US vary anywhere from $104 to $321 a month. By the end of the year, that’s a $2,609 difference — not a paltry amount. So, if you don’t want to leave a family vacation on the table in the form of an energy bill, here are the most and least expensive states for energy.

Top 5 cheapest states

If you’re not looking to break the bank on energy each month, you’re going to want to go west. The top five cheapest states are located on the West coast and have an average cost of just $109 a month.

1. Idaho — Cheapest state for energy
The cost of energy in Idaho is small potatoes, with the average monthly bill coming to just $104, making it the cheapest state (including D.C) in the US for energy. This totals to roughly $1,247 a year spent on average.

Looking at the monthly breakdown on costs, people in Idaho have the fifth lowest outlay on the cost of electricity, with an average monthly spend of $94 and the lowest monthly spend on natural gas at just $9.

2. New Mexico
Just behind Idaho is New Mexico as the second cheapest state for energy, with an average monthly cost of $105 and an average annual spend of $1,254. New Mexico is also the second cheapest state on average for electricity at $80 a month and the sixth cheapest state for natural gas at $24 a month.

3. Utah
Mormons, monoliths and now add modestly priced energy to what Utah is known for, as it is the third cheapest state for energy with an average monthly cost of just $107 a month or an annual cost of $1,285. Utah is actually the cheapest state for electricity at $76 a month but only the 13th lowest for natural gas prices at an average of $31 a month.

4. Colorado
Coming in fourth place is Colorado, with an average monthly energy bill of $112 or $1,341 annually. Colorado has the third lowest cost of electricity at $83 a month and the ninth monthly average bill for natural gas at $28.

5. Washington
Coming in as the fifth cheapest state for energy is Washington, with an average monthly bill of $117 or $1,406 annually. Washington ranks as the sixth cheapest state for electricity at $94 a month and the fifth cheapest for natural gas at $22.

Top 5 most expensive states for energy in the USA

While the West coast dominated the cheapest states for energy, three out of the top five most expensive states are located in the Northeast.

1. Hawaii — Most expensive state for energy
Hawaii tops the list as the most expensive state in the US for energy, with the average monthly energy bill coming to $321. This comes to a whopping $3,856 a year — which, ironically, is probably how much it would cost for a couples getaway to the island paradise.

There is no competition for Hawaii with energy cost as it ranks as the most expensive state for both monthly electricity at $168 and natural gas bills at $152.

2. Connecticut
Connecticut is the second most expensive place in America for energy, with an average monthly bill of $250, which comes to an average annual spend of $2,997. Of that monthly $250 energy bill, $151 is spent on electricity, which is the second most of any state. As far as the cost of natural gas goes, Connecticut fares much better and comes in as the 34th lowest spend at an average monthly spend of $71.

3. Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania comes in as the third most expensive state for energy, with an average monthly bill of $236, or an annual cost of $2,832. While Pennsylvania ranks middle (25th most expensive) of the table in regards to the monthly cost of electricity at $115, it’s the third most expensive state for natural gas at $92 a month.

4. Alabama
Coming in the fourth spot is Alabama with an average monthly cost of $232 for energy or $2,789 annually. Alabama ranks as the third highest state for the cost of electricity with $150 a month and the eighth most expensive for natural gas at $81.

5. Massachusetts
Rounding out the top five most expensive states is Massachusetts, with an average cost of $231 or $2,775 annually. It’s the 14th most expensive state for electricity at $126 and 11th most expensive for natural gas at $77 a month.

Rank (1 = lowest)StateMonthly spend on energyYearly spend on energy
1Idaho$104$1,247
2New Mexico$105$1,254
3Utah$107$1,285
4Colorado$112$1,341
5Washington$117$1,406
6Oregon$122$1,458
7Nevada$123$1,478
8Montana$138$1,659
9Wisconsin$145$1,740
10Maine$150$1,800
11North Carolina$151$1,806
12Arizona$152$1,825
13Minnesota$154$1,843
14California$155$1,859
15Vermont$155$1,863
16Delaware$158$1,892
17Wyoming$158$1,897
18Tennessee$162$1,942
19Florida$162$1,949
20South Dakota$164$1,970
21North Dakota$164$1,973
22South Carolina$174$2,090
23Texas$176$2,115
24New Jersey$176$2,115
25Nebraska$177$2,124
26Virginia$177$2,128
27Illinois$178$2,131
28Iowa$178$2,137
29Oklahoma$181$2,167
30Michigan$183$2,192
31District of Columbia$186$2,231
32Mississippi$190$2,282
33Arkansas$191$2,293
34Georgia$192$2,298
35Maryland$193$2,321
36Indiana$194$2,323
37Kansas$194$2,324
38Louisiana$194$2,330
39New Hampshire$199$2,384
40Alaska$200$2,405
41Ohio$205$2,456
42Kentucky$206$2,469
43Missouri$209$2,508
44New York$212$2,547
45Rhode Island$225$2,702
46West Virginia$231$2,775
47Massachusetts$231$2,775
48Alabama$232$2,789
49Pennsylvania$236$2,832
50Connecticut$250$2,997
51Hawaii$321$3,856

Four ways to reduce your energy bill

If you don’t plan to move to a different state to cut your energy cost, there are other ways you can reduce your bill at home.

  • Buy energy efficient appliances. By switching to Energy Star appliances, you’ll use 50% less energy, which could help you save 5 to 10% on your energy bill. Switching to energy efficient light bulbs could help you save $75 a year, according to energy.gov.
  • Use a rewards card. Although you’re not cutting energy costs, paying your utility bill with a rewards credit or debit card could help put money back into your pocket.
  • Unplug your devices. Although you aren’t using it, if you keep your device plugged in it’s still using energy called phantom power. This type of energy makes up about 25% of all residential energy, according to a study by the Natural Resources Defense Council. For example, if you keep a phone charger plugged in, that may cost you $4 to $5 a year. To help cut costs, unplug your unused devices or buy a power strip.
  • Use off-peak energy hours. Check when your electric company’s peak and off-peak hours are. If you run your dishwasher and laundry during off-peak hours you could save money.

Finder also got some insight from alternative energy specialists. Ben Zientara, Solar Policy Analyst and Researcher for Solar Reviews provided the following information.

Ben Zientara headshot
Ben Zientara
Solar Policy Analyst and Researcher for Solar Reviews

What is the most cost effective energy source?

When it comes to utility-scale electricity generation, solar power is now the cheapest electricity in the history of the world. In fact, building new utility solar capacity is cheaper than operating existing coal plants, meaning there is no reason to continue burning coal to make electricity once enough solar can be built. That should hold true long into the future as solar costs continue to decline.

When it comes to the most cost-effective energy source for home consumption, in many cases, the answer is also solar, but there are some caveats. If homeowners can take advantage of the federal solar tax credit for installing a rooftop solar energy system, then in general, their total energy costs with solar will be cheaper than grid power over the 25-year life of the solar panels.

In some places with very high electricity costs like the east coast and California, home solar is much more cost-effective than grid power even without subsidies. Places like Massachusetts and New Jersey offer additional solar incentives that can help homeowners break even on the total cost of solar in just a few years, leaving them with potentially decades of free electricity from their fully paid-for solar panels.

In states with very low electricity costs, like much of the South and the Pacific Northwest (where hydroelectric power keeps rates low), home solar is still competitive with grid power, but it’s not quite the no-brainer financial move it is elsewhere. Still, people with very high usage in those states can save significant amounts of money over time by switching to solar power.

How do I make my house net zero?

As a practical matter, the only way to make your house 100% net zero is to generate carbon-free electricity from solar panels or other renewable generation like a small wind turbine, storing any excess energy in batteries to ensure you can use every bit. This can be logistically and financially difficult, though, because batteries are still fairly expensive and this kind of setup requires an oversized solar installation to be sure you have enough energy for several days with little to no sun.

Instead, you can install a solar panel system designed to meet your total usage, but which connects to the grid to send excess solar energy when it’s producing more than you need. Almost every state in the USA guarantees some sort of net billing or net metering for customer-generated solar power. That means your utility company offers you credit for that excess solar energy that you can use to offset the cost of energy you draw from the grid when the sun isn’t shining. The best of these laws provide credit equal to the full retail cost of electricity, so if you send 100 kilowatt-hours to the grid, you get credit for 100 kilowatt-hours of grid power, and the usage charges on your bill can still average out to $0 over the course of a year.

What are some common mistakes people make when looking to go energy efficient to save on bills?

The first mistake is not getting a home energy audit before going solar. In most cases, it’s cheaper to improve your home’s insulation and avoid using electricity by replacing energy-intensive appliances, lights and devices than it is to pay for solar panels. Taking these steps can also result in a reduced cost to go solar when you’re ready.

Another mistake is not getting at least 3 quotes from different solar installers to compare not just cost, but warranties, equipment and customer testimonials and reviews. Also, consider that the panels will be in your roof for more than 2 decades, and make sure your current shingles or tiles won’t need to be replaced just a few years into owning solar panels. It’s possible but not cheap to remove panels for a roofing job, so it’s smart to plan ahead so you have no regrets later on.

Finally, as alluded to above, people don’t consider that their needs will change over time. It’s important to consider whether you’ll be getting an electric car or want to have a home battery some time in the future, and to make sure you discuss those with a solar installer before you make the decision to buy. More people than you think end up wanting to add panels to an existing home solar array within a few years of first installing.

Electric bill calculator

Select state:

Type of appliance:

Estimated appliance wattage (W):

Other wattage amount (W):

Daily usage (hours):

Electricity cost estimates

Average cost per kWh:

Average cost per month:

Total cost per year:

Average kWh per month

Total kWh per year

Methodology

To determine the average energy cost, we calculated the average monthly spend on the following items by residential customers for each state:

  • electricity
  • natural gas
  • heating oil
  • propane

Monthly spend for each energy type was determined by the average monthly consumption and the average price for residential customers. For heating oil and propane, data was available regionally. All data was sourced from the US Energy Information Administration.

For media inquiries:

Allan Givens headshot

Allan Givens
Public Relations Manager
203-818-2928
allan.givens@finder.com
/in/nicole-gallina/

Nicole Gallina headshot

Nicole Gallina
Finance PR Strategist
347-677-4931
ngallina@finder.com
/in/nicole-gallina/

More guides on Finder

Ask an Expert

You are about to post a question on finder.com:

  • Do not enter personal information (eg. surname, phone number, bank details) as your question will be made public
  • finder.com is a financial comparison and information service, not a bank or product provider
  • We cannot provide you with personal advice or recommendations
  • Your answer might already be waiting – check previous questions below to see if yours has already been asked

Finder.com provides guides and information on a range of products and services. Because our content is not financial advice, we suggest talking with a professional before you make any decision.

By submitting your comment or question, you agree to our Privacy and Cookies Policy and finder.com Terms of Use.

Questions and responses on finder.com are not provided, paid for or otherwise endorsed by any bank or brand. These banks and brands are not responsible for ensuring that comments are answered or accurate.
Go to site