Summer Electric Bills to Top $400

For the fourth time in the last six years, the average U.S. residential electricity user will need to set aside more than $400 to pay the electric bills.

On average, your summer electric bills are bound to be more than $400, the Energy Information Administration says. (Photo By: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

On average, your summer electric bills are bound to be more than $400, the Energy Information Administration says. (Photo By: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

The Energy Information Administration projects that the summer tab for power—that's June to August—will run $421 on a nationwide average.

That's virtually unchanged from $423 in summer 2016, but still is a $27 increase, or nearly 7 percent, from summer 2013, the least costly summer in the last six years.

The forecasts, contained in EIA's Short-Term Energy Outlook, released August 8, are based on a combination of declining electricity use and rising electricity prices.

Overall, the average U.S. residential user will consume 3,172 kilowatt-hours this summer, down 4.4 percent from 3,316 kwh in summer 2016. But the kwh price will increase by 3.9 percent, EIA said.

In fact, EIA sees higher prices in each of the nine U.S. regions it examines, largely due to increases in fuel costs, especially natural gas.

At the same time, the agency projects a decrease in energy use in every region from summer 2016 to summer 2017.

Electric bills are at their highest in the southeastern arc stretching from Virginia and North Carolina through the Deep South and west to Texas and Oklahoma.

Residential users in those regions can expect summer electric bills in the range of $474 to $477, even though summer-to-summer energy use will drop by 6 percent to 8.7 percent, depending on the region.

At $341, Pacific Coast users will enjoy the lowest bills for the three-month period, EIA said. The Pacific is the only region where energy use remains stable this summer.

The usage trend might change with the onset of winter, EIA said. It is calling for an increase in generation in winter 2017-2018 because of colder temperatures and expectations for a growing economy.

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