Map shows the average cost of electricity per state

Map shows the average cost of electricity per state
Map shows the average cost of electricity per state

Power trader here. It comes down to how residential and commercial customers differ as to WHEN they use their electricity. While most commercial usage is relatively stable across the day, residential usage is not. Residential HVAC units kick on anytime the weather gets outside our "comfort zone," so as a whole, residential usage is more reactive to weather.

Collective residential usage is often the largest consumer on a grid, so when your HVAC unit is running hard, there's a good chance everyone's is and therefore the grid is experiencing high demand. Electricity cannot be stored (economically at scale), so the system must always be kept in balance. When there's a lot of demand on the grid, additional generation plants must come online to supply that demand. These plants are usually more expensive to fuel and operate and often called "peaker plants". The result is higher cost. Like most things in life, high demand = high prices.

tl;dr: Residential customers use more power during high demand (aka expensive) periods of the day.

Wow - TIL that residential power is more expensive than commercial in almost every state. Anyone know why?

I buy/sell power (electricity). In some regions, power can be traded like any other commodity (Oil, Nat Gas, Coffee, etc.)

Now I'm curious, what even is a power trader?

Could you give Kathleen Wynne some tips, please? Ontario is just ridiculous right now. We're actually paying New York to take our surplus power...

Here's a mirror from Google's cache

I'd like to see a map like that including taxes and distribution fees. Those add about 50% to my actual electric bill.

No need, my family will use it free of charge! Just run an extension cable to LA and we're golden.

Being a Florida resident, I was hoping to see our power be lower than the states around us - especially given the amount of solar panels people are putting up and connecting to FPL. Maybe it would be worse ?

Contracts. The facility I work for has a deal that the city can cut power to all of our buildings in time of crisis to help reduce power demand, so long as our battery backup can keep certain parts of the facility running. Once out of battery power, we'd only run necessary equipment.

Growing all that weed sucks up electricity.

The power companies all know who grows weed and who doesn't. They haven't traditionally told the police because they're the best customers.

Nitpicking incoming: I'm not a fan of how the colors are pigeonholed into just a few shades. California and Alaska become the same color, even though the Alaska rate is about double that of Cali. Also, the charts of the top 10 lowest prices would be much better sorted in ascending order of price, not descending.

You have cleared the world's lowest hurdle.

Nevada all around has an extremely cheap cost of living, from rent to utilities it's all dirt cheap, and though our gas isn't quite that low you don't need to run the heater outside of a month and a half every year (at least in Vegas.) The only time it gets a little expensive is when you run your AC a lot in the summer months.

I'm afraid this is completely meaningless because many utilities have significantly raised their "service fee" so that they can show a lower KWH rate.

They should show what the actual bill would be with the service fee and other BS fees, and then show how much the bill is with taxes. I'd include a 400KWH and 1100KWH column also.

FYI, I live in a red state. They recently increased the base fee, and then they came up with this schedule. They are more than doubling the bill for poor people and those that live in apartment. If you have a 2500SF house, you'll see your bill go down, A LOT. The more you use, the less you pay.

9.88 cents/kWh for the first 100 kWh 8.54 cents/kWh for the next 900 kWh 6.03 cents/kWh for all additional kWh

The only time it gets a little expensive is when you run your AC a lot in the summer months.

Well luckily that won't be necessary in the cool climate of Nevada.

Same here in Texas.

Distance is a major factor in Texas, as you lose output for each additional mile it must travel. So for example, winds farms in West Texas could generate the power fairly cheaply, but transmitting it to where it is used will take much longer transmissions than say the coal plant two miles from the city.

Also, Solar is still more expensive than hydrocarbons, especially natural gas--which several plants are being built for in Texas.

Keep in mind that the American deserts aren't typically some dead, empty, worthless thing made of sand dunes like in the movies.

In most places it's a really delicate ecosystem even where you might not see many plants. There are major environmental impacts to just building a giant solar farm in the desert, just as there are if you cut down a forest or clear a field to do it. In some ways, you could consider it a more severe impact because it will take decades/centuries to recover if you removed everything and left.

Solar panels absolutely might be worth putting in, but it's something that has to be carefully considered for how much damage it's doing vs the benefits.

The numbers aren't always great for solar, but you can offset the additional cost with the value of marketing. Whole foods customers love the idea of buying from a green company, so solar contributes to sales. Add in some subsidies and you can make some money off of the endeavor.

The good ‘ol Reddit hug ‘o death

Oregon here. We already did.

There's giant-ass extension cables running straight from our hydro plants to SoCal.

Absolutely, these numbers are supply only. Distribution is right about the same here in PA

weed farmers and bit-coin miners

Except that our blended, net rate (yes, including delivery) is lower than tons of the jurisdictions in the map above. Also substantially lower than most metro areas in the US as per the annual Hydro-Quebec study: http://www.hydroquebec.com/publications/en/docs/comparaison-electricity-prices/comp_2016_en.pdf

Further, please stop spreading garbage about Ontario paying other people to take our energy. That hasn't and will never happen. When we produce excess, we sell at a rate lower than cost (2.65 cents versus production cost of 8.55 as per https://www.thestar.com/news/queenspark/2014/01/20/ontario_paid_1_billion_to_dump_excess_electric...). This is a very common practice, particularly in grids reliant on nuclear energy, which is more or less incapable of appropriately scaling up and down according to peak load.

I'm not saying things are perfect, but getting informed before complaining is a generally good idea.

Illinois has more nuclear reactors than any other state, that is probably a part of it.

Yeah I was surprised by that to. We have our own freaking power grid in Texas. Maybe the extra infrastructure is why it's so expensive :/

Fun fact: Built a few peaker plants. The software folks have a "war mode". Which is running at full capacity untill the turbines suffer a catastrophic failure; whether that be melting or otherwise.

When asked why, "its cheaper to fix the turbine then it is to rebuild the whole plant." not sure if destroying our power generation capabilities to keep it from falling into enemy hands, or if we'd need mass power in war time for manufacturing or otherwise.

Not sure if still have a picture of the computer screen. (2012)

Edit: sorry guys, finally had a chance and found the photo.

Fun fact: Built a few peaker plants. The software folks have a "war mode". Which is running at full capacity untill the turbines suffer a catastrophic failure; whether that be melting or otherwise.

When asked why, "its cheaper to fix the turbine then it is to rebuild the whole plant." not sure if destroying our power generation capabilities to keep it from falling into enemy hands, or if we'd need mass power in war time for manufacturing or otherwise.

Not sure if still have a picture of the computer screen. (2012)

Edit: sorry guys, finally had a chance and .

There are a bunch of reasons, but it tends to boil down to volume discounts and better negotiation on the part of the businesses...You don't really have any leverage as a private consumer, but businesses buy so much power that they can negotiate better with the provider, and they often have more options as well.

Most people size their solar arrays to offset their usage only, and send only net generation, so it isn't going to make a huge difference in cost for most users in the short term. One added benefit of offsetting demand through residential solar is through shifting the burden of capital projects from FPL to individual homeowners, but that is a longer-term savings.

There's a doc called "Smartest Guys in the Room," about Enron. (Used to be on Netflix, haven't checked for it there in a while, though.) That's where I learned about "power traders"... blew my mind.

yeah it's kind of dishonest to list only generation and not distribution

"Not a typical business blog... Elite Fixtures brings you the best lighting, home decor and DIY ideas all in one place!"

Notice Ohio and West Virginia in this map.  Different shade, same data.

Notice Ohio and West Virginia in map. Different shade, same data.

These numbers are horribly out of date/inaccurate.

For example, California hasn't been paying $0.127/kWhr for commercial power in years.

Not in pretty picture form, but the EIA has great charts updated monthly:

https://www.eia.gov/electricity/monthly/epm_table_grapher.php?t=epmt_5_6_a.

Interesting to see the effects of the TVA on lower energy rates in Tennessee and surrounding states. I'm assuming that hydro projects also keep rates lower than average in Oregon and Washington. Can't be the Columbia Generating Station easing prices as it is the most expensive nuke in the country to run.

Ya, residential weed growers are such great customers. They pay a large portion of the utilities revenue each month. Torally worth it from the utility POV.

Well, it's not straight from the dams to SoCal, and the BPA has a statutory obligation to ensure the needs of its service territory are met first before selling to anyone else, but yeah your basic point is right.

Fun fact, BPA sells to SoCal during the summer, but turns around and buys most of it back in winter.

The color scale breaks at the top. Alaska and Hawaii should not be the same color as California and New Mexico - their rates are more than twice as expensive!

Solar panels make YOUR electricity cheaper, not everyone else's.

Ha ha ha...no, they are actually trying to bully legislation that lets them charge you for your own solar power. We smacked that deceptively worded bill down last year, but they've got another one lined up.

Increased usage of solar panels isn't going to lower the retail rate. FPL still has relatively fixed costs to maintain the grid & transmission lines, while serving fewer MWs, so if anything the rate would be higher because of home solar.

They also often end up running more expensive units to be able to maintain grid reliability at certain times of the day. For example, when the sun goes down all that home solar power across the area stops producing basically all at once. To keep the grid stable, FPL needs to run units that can move very quickly to replace all that generation to meet demand. Units with this sort of ramping capability are generally much more expensive to run and would result in a higher overall rate.

This is why businesses like Whole Foods install solar. The peak cost can be so high some years it makes sense to generate your own power

Also the article appears to just repeat itself completely halfway down. What's up with that?

Yes, there are futures on power. They're even simpler than oil futures, too, since oil futures often vary across grades or qualities of oil whereas power is just defined by a delivery period.

This is why Hydro Quebec is always campaigning on energy conservation so that it can sell the electricity to the states.

In Quebec, electricity sells for 0.06$ KWH for most residential customers, they get more than twice that sending it south of the border.

No, If the grid is down the solar panels won't power your house. They get cut off as well to ensure linesmen don't get shocked by any electricity you end up sending to the grid

Shhhh. Don't tell anyone!

You likely can't impact enough people with your power usage for it to matter.

However... my local power company has a program, that allows them to control your thermostat remotely. It pre-cool your home prior to peak hours on days where they expect large electrical loads during peak hours. They give you the thermostat free and pay you to install it. You don't get discounted electricity, but hey, free thermostat.

With enough homeowners participating, programs like that can reduce the likelihood of brownouts and lower the peak power demand considerably.

They are, slowly. HPS is still the light of choice. Also, as some farms switch over to LEDs, they simultaneously increase growing capacity and end up using about the same net power. Source: work in LED lighting industry.

So is degradation over distance the reason why the arizona desert hasn't been turned into a huge solar farm to power the country?

Interesting - I know that my cousin's house in NC has a control where the city can cut off their A/C at any time. Sounds like something similar.

Use BTC miners as space heaters in the winter.

In this Hawaiian king's role... How much of the budget is set aside for King's Hawaiian rolls?

Have LEDs changed that at all?

No. It depends on how you connect things but basically, if you want to be independent, you have to be completely off the grid or get some expensive gear IIRC. Depends on local regulations a lot too.

Keep in mind heat does not directly correlate with solar power efficiency. In fact it's bad for a solar panel to get hot

What you're talking about is specifically what power traders do.

That's not nitpicking, that's offering critique on a subject that this sub is supposed to be about.


DataIsBeautiful is for visualizations that effectively convey information


It doesn't effectively convey that Alaska's is more than double that of California's, on account of the colors being the exact same.  One could argue that the range for coloring is only "most" to "least", but then the legend for that clearly shows equal length for each of the 5 possible colors.  That would make each value range for "most" (based on the extremes) be 0.282 - 0.2392, still leaving Alaska in its very own category.

Here's the image re-colored using the colors mapped to their ranges as it's presented in the legend:  https://i.imgur.com/BFImrhX.jpg
( I probably missed a few - just manually flood filled things )

The second-most expensive category ($0.1964 .. $0.2392) is now entirely unrepresented, while the mid-expensive category ($0.1536 .. $0.1964) is now represented only by Vermont.  I still don't think it's 'beautiful', but at least it's (manual pokery notwithstanding) more accurate.

Alternatively, keep the colors as they are, but make Alaska a 6th color, based on the same color progression:  https://i.imgur.com/CWeh5MU.jpg

That's not nitpicking, that's offering critique on a subject that this sub is supposed to be about.

DataIsBeautiful is for visualizations that effectively convey information

It doesn't effectively convey that Alaska's is more than double that of California's, on account of the colors being the exact same. One could argue that the range for coloring is only "most" to "least", but then the legend for that clearly shows equal length for each of the 5 possible colors. That would make each value range for "most" (based on the extremes) be 0.282 - 0.2392, still leaving Alaska in its very own category.

Here's the image re-colored using the colors mapped to their ranges as it's presented in the legend: ( I probably missed a few - just manually flood filled things )

The second-most expensive category ($0.1964 .. $0.2392) is now entirely unrepresented, while the mid-expensive category ($0.1536 .. $0.1964) is now represented only by Vermont. I still don't think it's 'beautiful', but at least it's (manual pokery notwithstanding) more accurate.

Alternatively, keep the colors as they are, but make Alaska a 6th color, based on the same color progression: https://i.imgur.com/CWeh5MU.jpg

Yeah just don't move here because of it. There is a pretty hefty unemployment and very low wages. I am in an apartment complex that is very transient because people move here for a cheap place to live and find out they can't get a high enough paying job to survive. Nearly everyone I know works 2 or more jobs. There is a joke around my complex that if you see an uber sticker they are a local.

8 dams on the Columbia and lots of smaller dams. Same for Nevada (Hoover dam). This is a map of hydro, functionally :) not that that is bad at all! I like that it highlights how cheap those are

Gets a lot colder at night in Nevada than in say Florida.

Winter in northern Nevada drops below 0F during the day. All of Nevada isn't Vegas.

Ya, this number is way off. Says about 9 cents for Maine, when in reality it is about double that.

For example, my last bill of $97 - $44 was actual electricity usage $53 was for "delivery" charge

That depends on who you ask and which "scientific" study you read. My personal opinion is that deregulated markets are cheaper. Admittedly, those markets also seem to carry more volatility. Utilities are in the game of long-term planning. They build infrastructure that will last decades and create a stable price over that period because they can justify "customers have to pay ___ for this equipment" and charge that rate until it's paid off. In restructured markets, free market theory and economics determines whether infrastructure should be built or not. In some cases, this has led to less infrastructure investment in short term periods. Other's opinions may differ.

No, it does have an effect.

Large industrial installations typically have some sort of (static VAR compensator)[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Static_VAR_compensator] that is required as part of their contract. Unity power factor loading on the grid is better for load sharing and allows for more efficient transmission over the same lines.

Sure, if your peak load is in the 100's of MW's, a power company will sell you power with no VAR compensation on your end, but you will pay for it.

It does correlate with increased peak demand though, especially for a grocery store (lots of AC and refrigeration needed). Solar typically coincides pretty well with peak demand times.

No, that title would belong to "Standards for Becoming POTUS."

A Florida utility tried to buy a Hawaiian Electric a few years ago, but it didn't end well. The deal sounded good in the beginning but it almost started to sound like we were going to get screwed if we had our own PV. Not sure if I trust Hawaiian Electric more, but at least it's our own devil. Don't forget, the whole Enron thing was screwing California with rolling blackouts. Yeah, I'm a little cynical.

http://www.miamiherald.com/news/business/article90362237.html

You know how you can trade on the future price of oil? He does that with electricity.

It's often cheaper to keep a plant running and pay people to take the power than to power down the plant and power it back up.

July 2017 Residential Rates

Used the following data: https://www.eia.gov/electricity/monthly/epm_table_grapher.php?t=epmt_5_6_a

Used SSRS 2014 to create a map report. 

Edit: Fixed label for Hawaii.

Used the following data: https://www.eia.gov/electricity/monthly/epm_table_grapher.php?t=epmt_5_6_a

Used SSRS 2014 to create a map report.

Edit: Fixed label for Hawaii.

Just locked a 3 year contract here in N. Texas for 7 cents per kwh DELIVERED no time of use, no base fees, no tiered pricing. Just flat rate 24/7 for whatever I use.

Makes the crypto mining that much more profitable, especially with 19 GPUs, gonna be a nice toasty winter :)

I’ll trade you my orange extension cord for ten lightbulbs. Plz @ me

And that is why DataCenters are HUGE in Virginia. Low cost power.

Virginia has the largest concentration of fiber in the world, 90+% of Internet routes directly peer in Virginia, and 70% of Internet traffic flows through Virginia (Including this message).

Not always. Lots of places you put in a disconnect for that exact purpose.

NYC has been cool the last few years but we had some really hot summers and Whole Foods along with other stores installed solar. They said the cost makes up for the prices they pay during peak times in hot years.

Some of the stores now have Tesla charging stations so I think this is what they do with excess electricity in cooler years

One reason is that residential electricity costs more to deliver. An industrial plant may use as much power as a whole neighborhood but only have one or two relatively high voltage connections to the grid. To power a neighborhood, those same one or two high voltage connections exist, but the power company also has to maintain a whole distribution network to deliver power to each house.

An Enron documentary is probably not a good way to explain any legitimate enterprise...