States Paying Big on Electricity
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Which States Pay the Most for Electricity?

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States Paying Big on Electricity
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Charge It

The national average for electricity prices has risen more than 30% in the past 15 years, eating up a larger and larger share of Americans' after-tax income, particularly for the poorest families. In September, the average residential electricity bill was $114.18, according to Choose Energy, which tries to help consumers find and switch to cheaper power plans. While some of the increase is tied to the federal Clean Air Act, where you live can have a big impact on what you pay. With data from Choose Energy for the first nine months of 2019, here's a look at the 25 states that pay the most for electricity per kilowatt hour, ranked from most expensive to least.

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Hawaii
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Hawaii

32.62 cents kWh
Hawaii is easily the priciest place to live when it comes to energy costs, says Arthur Murray, managing editor for Choose Energy. Its electricity costs far outpaces even No. 2 ranked Alaska. "Hawaii is in a category of its own," Murray says. "They have to import everything and are not a big industrial state."

Related: 20 Tips for Visiting Hawaii on a Budget

Alaska
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Connecticut
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Connecticut

22.28 cents per kWh
Just a shade behind Alaska, Connecticut is no bargain either for electricity customers. The good news: The state is deregulated, meaning residents are able to choose their provider. The bad news: While one of Connecticut's leading providers, Eversource Energy CT, increased rates by about 19% in January, according to Choose Energy, rates through another major utility provider, United Illuminating, also recently experienced a 24% increase.

Massachusetts
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Massachusetts

22.16 cents per kWh
Massachusetts is another state with a deregulated electricity market, which is a key point to remember given that one of the main providers, National Grid, increased rates recently by 26% for residential customers. By shopping around, though, there's plenty of opportunity to save. In some parts of the state, it's possible to score rates as low as 9.89 cents per kWh, Choose Energy says.

Rhode Island
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Rhode Island

21.85 cents per kWh
Rounding out the top five most-expensive states for electricity is Rhode Island, a state where rates for electric distribution service are approved by the Public Utilities Commission but the market is deregulated, allowing residents to buy from a variety of providers.

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New Hampshire
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New Hampshire

20.13 cents per kWh
New Hampshire residents are also able to choose their own electricity supplier. The state has had a deregulated market since 1996, and Choose Energy says it may be possible to save a bit by shopping around.

California
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California

19.54 cents per kWh
The rates charged by each of six electric utilities in California must be approved by the California Public Utilities Commission and are calculated from the cost of operating, maintaining, and financing the infrastructure used to run the utility; and on the cost of its procured fuel and power. All that can be expensive, and results in the seventh-highest average rates in the country.

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Maine
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Maine

17.90 cents per kWh
A deregulated state where suppliers are known to offer competitive rates and even, in some cases, incentives to lure customers, Maine's average price is still high enough to put it among the top 10 most expensive states in the country for electricity.

New York
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New York

17.89 cents per kWh
National Grid raised the prices for residential electricity delivery here by $3 a month this year and is set to increase them by $3 again in 2020, according to Choose Energy. Meanwhile, NYSEG electricity and natural gas rates are expected to increase by $6 a month. But it's possible to switch to an energy service company to try to lower your rates. Options are offered by Con Edison; Orange & Rockland; Central Hudson; and more.

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Vermont
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Vermont

17.05 cents per kWh
Coming in at No. 10, Vermonters are unique in the nation because the lion's share of their electricity comes from renewable resources such as hydropower. Last year, 99.7% of its electricity generation came from a renewable source, more than any other state in the country. Vermont also has a growing wind farm market that generated 17% of the state's electricity in 2018.

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New Jersey
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New Jersey

16.05 cents per kWh
Another one of the 15 states with a deregulated energy market, New Jersey residents can choose service from a variety of providers including JCPL; PSEG; Atlantic City Electric; and Rockland Electric. By shopping around a little, it is possible to score rates as low as 10.59 cents per kWh, depending where you live, Choose Energy says.

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Michigan
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Michigan

15.77 cents per kWh
Ranked No. 12 for electricity prices, Michigan still largely generates power the old-fashioned way: coal-fired plants. This highly polluting source of energy appears to be declining, with its share of the market down to 37% of the state's net electricity generation last year from 53% five years earlier.

Wisconsin
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Wisconsin

14.69 cents per kWh
Wisconsin's energy rates are among the steepest in the Midwest. Coal remains the No. 1 fuel used for electricity generation in the state, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration — last year, accounting for 49% of the generation. Natural gas plants provided 26% of the state's electricity last year, triple what it was around 10 years ago.

Pennsylvania
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Pennsylvania

13.77 cents per kWh
A deregulated market since 1997, Pennsylvania lets residents shop around to choose their own energy service provider. This is good news given that many of the state's electricity companies announced rate increases in 2019, according to Choose Energy.

Minnesota
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Minnesota

13.48 cents per kWh
The majority of Minnesota's power is generated by coal-fired plants — but that roughly 37% in 2018 is a decrease from 2011, when coal generated about 53%. Two nuclear power plants also contribute substantially to the market, about 23% last year. Electric service providers in the state include Minnesota Power; Otter Tail Power; and Xcel Energy.

Iowa
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Iowa

13.29 cents per kWh
Iowa isn't deregulated, and electricity costs for its residents have been increasingly steadily, attracting a spate of media coverage. Alliant Energy, one of the state's largest providers, announced plans this year to increase electric and natural gas rates, adding about $20 to the average monthly bill, on the heels of an 8% price hike a year earlier. The other large provider in the state is MidAmerican, though there's a long list of municipal utilities and rural electric cooperatives also operating.

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Maryland
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Maryland

13.19 cents per kWh
The benefits of deregulation are fully apparent in Maryland, where Choose Energy says some suppliers offer prices substantially cheaper than the state utility. In some parts of the state, deregulated energy supplier rates are as much as 16% cheaper than BG&E. It seems Maryland residents have yet to realize the value of doing a little bargain shopping: A Choose Energy survey found that more than 86% of the state's residents say "they've never chosen a competitive electricity plan."

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Illinois
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Illinois

12.88 cents per kWh
As in Maryland, many Illinois residents are not yet reaping the benefits of living in a deregulated state. A Choose Energy survey found that a full two-thirds of residents do not know what energy deregulation is or how it affects the state. In fact, a mere 9.5% say they have exercised energy choice, according to Choose Energy.

Alabama
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Alabama

12.75 cents per kWh
Residents in Alabama, which is not among the country's deregulated energy markets, look mainly to two large providers: Alabama Power and the Tennessee Valley Authority.

Kansas
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Kansas

12.73 cents per kWh
Though Kansas falls toward the bottom of this list, state electric customers experienced the nation's biggest price increase in February — up 22.5%, according to Choose Energy. Residents pay more for electricity than neighboring states because local utility companies Westar Energy and Kansas City Power & Light have spent a mountain of cash over the past 10 years on such projects as coal-fired plants and wind farms, The Associated Press says.

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New Mexico
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New Mexico

12.65 cents per kWh
Natural gas and coal are the two primary sources of electricity generation in New Mexico, which is not among the deregulated markets but has an emerging wind energy market. In 2017, wind accounted for 14% of the electricity generation.

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Delaware
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Delaware

12.65 cents per kWh
Delaware's market has been deregulated since 1999, and the Delaware Public Service Commission website provides a long list of suppliers in the state for those hoping to shop around and beat the current average price.

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South Carolina
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South Carolina

12.64 cents per kWh
Natural gas use is on the rise for creating electric power in South Carolina. In 2018, for the first time, electric energy generated by natural gas-fired power plants surpassed coal-fired plants.

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Arizona
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Indiana
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Indiana

12.39 cents per kWh
Rounding out the 25 most expensive states for electricity, Indiana's electricity market is regulated and includes about five investor-owned utilities and nine municipal electric utilities, though dozens of municipal electric utility providers have withdrawn from the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission's jurisdiction and set their own rates.