Did you know that electricity prices are not the same standard rate across the country? You may be paying a much higher electric bill depending on the state and/or country that you live in. Numerous factors contribute to this variance in cost of electricity, including the cost of producing electricity, weather, power plant outages, the prices of resources such as coal and natural gas, snowpack and streamflow for hydropower, and more.
The average American family currently forks over nearly 12 cents per kilowatt hour for electric power. Although this is the national average, electricity costs vary widely from state to state. In Hawaii, where everything costs a little more due to the logistics of transporting goods and services thousands of miles across the Pacific, power is currently over 36 cents per kilowatt hour. Louisiana, on the other hand, is a state rich in natural gas and petroleum reserves, and residents there pay only 8.38 cents per kilowatt hour. The same price discrepancies also exist between countries. Island nations, including the Solomon Islands and Tonga, have high average prices for electric power, as do highly regulated European countries, such as Denmark and Germany. Resource-rich nations, such as Ukraine and Russia, fall at the other end of the spectrum of costs, with residents paying just a few cents per kilowatt hour. In the U.S., power rates also differ based upon whether the client is a residential homeowner or commercial business. Business and industrial power rates are generally much lower than household rates, possibly due to bulk-rate pricing offered to large power consumers.
Coal and natural gas still make up about 60 percent of the fuel used to generate power in the United States. Natural gas, although a non-renewable resource, has many benefits over coal and is rapidly gaining prominence as a source for power generation. However, both of these non-renewable fuels are rapidly being replaced by newer, environmentally-friendly energy sources including geothermal, hydroelectric, wind and solar. The use of renewable energy sources for power generation has increased by 177 percent over the past decade, while coal and petroleum-based fuel usage declined by 22 percent and 83 percent, respectively, over the same time period.
Still more changes are looming on the energy horizon. A majority of the U.S. is operating using power lines and generating stations that are decades old. The supply of fossil fuels, the traditional fuel source for power generation, is rapidly dwindling, and the reserves that are available are harder to access and develop. Both of these factors are contributing to the expected hefty increases in the cost of power that have been projected for the coming years. Electric rates are expected to rise by 21 percent over the next 10 years and by a whopping 50 percent over the next 20 years.
Although this expected rise in electricity rates is nothing to smile about, there are options for convserving energy to reduce costs and preserve the environment.Energy efficient air purifiers provide a helpful solution for reducing the environmental impact of electricity usage by homes and companies. Being smart about your electricity usage will help trim the bill as well.