By - Jim Vess

U.S. electricity prices up slightly in the past 12 months spurred by sharp regional differences

Energize Weekly, September 4, 2019

Average electricity prices in the U.S. edged up three-tenths of a percent in the most recent 12-month rolling period, which ended in May 2019, compared to the previous 12-month span, according to the federal Energy Information Administration (EIA).

There were, however, sharp regional and state differences with falling rates in some areas and sharp rate hikes in others.

The rates in the majority of states fell slightly, but those modest decreases were overtaken by higher increases in some areas of the country.

For example, electricity prices in Hawaii and other Pacific islands were up 7.5 percent, and rates for New England were up 4.2 percent

The four states with the largest price increases were Rhode Island, Hawaii, Connecticut and Massachusetts. Rhode Island had an increase of more than 10 percent, followed by Hawaii with a 9 percent rise. Connecticut had a 5.4 percent increase, followed by Massachusetts at 4.6 percent. Rounding out the top five was Texas with a 4.1 percent hike.

The decreases in in the other states weren’t large enough to completely balance out these price increases. “This lack of balance is partly why the U.S. total increased only slightly during this period,” EIA said.

In terms of price decreases, measured in price per kilowatt-hour, South Carolina posted the largest drop, 5.4 percent, followed by Arkansas down 5.1 percent, West Virginia with a 4.6 percent decline, Utah down 4 percent and Missouri posting a 3.6 percent drop in prices.

EIA noted that while the states where the highest electricity price increases were geographically clustered in particular census divisions, the states with the largest decreases were more scattered with South Carolina and West Virginia in the South Atlantic Division, Arkansas in the West South Central Division, Utah in the Mountain Division and Missouri in the West North Central Division.

The remaining 40 states, as well as the District of Columbia, had electricity price changes that ranged from an increase of 3.8 percent to a decrease of 3.4 percent. Twenty-eight of these states saw a change between plus or minus 2 percent and 13 of the states had a change of less than 1 percent.

“Overall, most of the United States saw relatively flat changes in electricity prices during the past two years,” EIA said. “Those states that saw the highest increases outpaced those that saw the largest decreases and that led to the United States as a whole to see a slight increase in residential electricity prices.”

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