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Low-Income Households’ Electric Bills Below $85/Month

Sept. 20’s column started rolling out our analysis of the new semi-annual Consumer Expenditure Survey of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

We talked about how the electric bills paid by American households, in total, in 2017, averaged $1,420. Which comes to $118.33 per month.

And about how it’s the lowest average since 2012. And how it’s below the level in 2011, six years ago.

But that $118.33 is the average electric bill of all 130 million households nationally. Take an average of all the households and you miss the diversity of what individual households pay for electricity.

One very interesting cut of the data is the more detailed averages of what low-income households pay in the four census regions.

4.4 million of the 23.4 million households in the Northeast have an annual income before taxes below $20,000. Over the last two years, their monthly electric bills averaged $49.25 to $79.17 depending on their income category

There are four low-income categories: less than $5,000, $5,000 to $9,999, $10,000 to $14,999, 15,000 to $19,999.

4.5 million of the 28.6 million households in the West have an annual income before taxes below $20,000. Over the last two years, their monthly electric bills averaged $60.08 to $79.58 depending on their income category.

5.2 million of the 27.9 million households in the Midwest have an annual income before taxes below $20,000. Over the last two years, their monthly electric bills averaged $65.50 to $85.00 depending on their income category.

Here we’ve left out low-income households in the South. Households in this last region pay significantly more for electricity, due to their heavier use of air conditioning. This pushes up national averages quite considerably.
 

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Steve Mitnick, Editor-in-Chief, Public Utilities Fortnightly, and President, Lines Up, Inc.
E-mail me: mitnick@fortnightly.com