CONNECTICUT — The good news for environmentalists, and everyone else on the planet, is that commercial and industrial energy consumption is way down since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic. The bad news is that your home energy bill is likely a lot higher since the start of the lockdown — you knew your binge-watching of "Bojack Horseman" with the AC cranked was going to leave a mark somewhere.
Nationally, energy costs consume between 5 and 22 percent of families' total after-tax income. There are a number of movable parts to that expense, including the price of home heating oil, how much we consume, and even how many motorists are on the state's roads. To better understand those connections, personal finance site WalletHub compared the total monthly energy bills in each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia. Their formula and methodology accounted for the following residential energy types: electricity, natural gas, motor fuel and home heating oil.
In WalletHub's analysis, Connecticut proved to be the state with the most expensive residential energy bills, paying an average of $372 per month to keep warm, cool, lit, moving and entertained. That rank is driven primarily by our average monthly electricity ($169) and heating oil ($80) hits, both of which are third in the nation in their respective categories. We not only pay a lot per gallon of home heating oil (4th highest), we use a lot of it: Connecticut has the 4th highest household usage.
Our average monthly natural gas bill of $45 came in 14th on the national list, and the only place where we scored near the respectable bottom (46th) was in the category of monthly motor fuel costs, a combination of what we pay at the pump and how much we drive.
And yes, high energy bills seem to be a Northeast Thing. Neighboring Massachusetts and Rhode Island are right behind Connecticut at No. 2 and No. 3, respectively, and New Hampshire (No. 4) and Maine (No. 6) are not far behind.
Here's how Connecticut ranked across the primary residential energy cost categories in the report:
4th – Price of Electricity
4th – Price of Home Heating Oil
4th – Home Heating-Oil Consumption per Consumer
10th – Price of Natural Gas
20th – Price of Motor Fuel
29th – Natural-Gas Consumption per Consumer
Your Netflix binge will cost you most dearly if you live in Hawaii. That's the state with the highest cost of electricity, as well as the highest tab for natural gas. "Aloha," indeed.
Highest Electricity Price
Highest Natural Gas Price
Professor David Dismukes, executive director and director of Policy Analysis at the Center for Energy Studies, Louisiana State University, knows a few things about energy costs, and believes that for most households, relief may be just a phone call away. He told WalletHub that some of the best ways to save money on electric bills are to participate in the energy savings/efficiency programs that are often offered by utilities.
"These programs range from those dedicated to reducing lighting costs (through lightbulb replacement) to water heating costs (by switching out appliances), to air conditioning costs, and overall insulation and other high-efficiency materials that can make a home/business more efficient," Dismukes said. "Utilities also often offer home energy efficiency 'audits' that can assess your current energy use and offer recommendations for savings. If your utility does not offer these kinds of programs, there are a variety of high-efficiency appliances and insulation measures that you can purchase at your local home improvement store and they often have professionals on-site that can assist in figuring out these energy efficiency opportunities."
Below are the top ten most expensive energy states, according to the WalletHub research. The complete report can be found here.