A recent USA Today analysis has found that electric bills have skyrocketed in the last five years, averaging $1,419 per U.S. household for electricity in 2010, which is $300 more than five years ago. Last year was the fifth consecutive yearly increase above the inflation rate for electricity, the largest sustained increase since a run-up in electricity prices during the 1970s.
While you may first excuse this troubling increase as the result of the multitude of new iProducts and other electronics currently charging in your household, modern electronics and appliances require far less electricity than older models did. TIME Moneyland blog notes that a new refrigerator requires half the electricity of its early ’90s counterpart, with today’s air-conditioners consuming far less electricity as well.
USA Today points to greater electricity use at home and higher prices per kilowatt hour as both driving the higher costs. Prices alone have climbed to a record 11.8 cents per residential kilowatt hour so far this year. USA Today writes that this increase "reflects higher fuel prices and the expense of replacing old power plants, including heavily polluting — but cheap to operate — coal plants that don't meet federal clean air requirements."
In addition to analyzing electricity costs at large, the study examined bills state by state, with the highest electricity bills found in Connecticut and Hawaii (19.25 and 28.1) and lowest in Idaho and Washington (about 8 cents per residential kilowatt hour). TIME notes that these states benefit from access to hydropower dams.
USA Today speculates the one potential bright spot is that electric bills appear roughly the same so far this year as last when adjusted for inflation. At least based on preliminary reports.
While cap and trade may have died in the Senate, it appears that the President's prediction of skyrocketing electricity rates during his administration has still materialized: