Average Electric Bill in Idaho

We dug into the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s data[1] to look at the average monthly electric bill for Idaho residential households. These averages are for the full year of 2018, not any specific month of 2019, given that electricity usage & prices fluctuate month-to-month.

$95.84
average monthly residential electric bill in Idaho
*This is 18.5% less than the United States national average, which is $117.65.
10.15¢/kWh
average residential electric rate for households in ID
*This is 21.1% less than the United States average, which is 12.87¢/kWh.
944 kWh
average monthly residential electricity consumption in ID
*This is 3.3% greater than the national average (914 kWh) & the 25th highest in the U.S..
8th
Idaho ranking for lowest electric bill in the United States
*Relative to average monthly household income (2.26%%), GA has the 21st highest bill.

Why Are Electric Bills in Idaho Comparatively Low?

The two factors that make up the cost an electric bill are (1) cost and (2) consumption. Looking at each, it seems Idaho residents enjoy low electric rates of 10.15¢ per kWh, 21.1% less than the national average. There’s not that much of a catch either, since Idaho residents only use 944 kWh per month on average, which is only 3.3% greater than the national average.

Reasons for Low Electricity Rates in Idaho

Since the electric rates in Idaho are significantly lower than the national average (21.1% less), it’s important to understand what makes electricity more or less expensive. The factors affecting this number are:

  1. Supplyan increase in the supply of energy brings costs down. For example, weather events such as high amounts of rain or high wind speeds can temporarily increase the supply of energy where there are hydropower plants or wind turbines to take advantage, and as a result, lower electricity rates.
  2. Demand – an increase in the demand for energy causes costs to rise. This is because the use of more costly fuels, such as natural gas, help “fill in” for the rise in demand. For example, a heat wave might temporarily increase the demand for cooling and the subsequent need for fuels, and as a result, raise electricity rates.

Additional factors that impact electricity rates include state & federal regulations, global markets and even financial speculation.

Reasons for High Electricity Consumption in Idaho

Because Idaho residents only consume slightly more electricity than the national average (3.3%), it’s important to understand exactly what electricity is used for. The EIA looked at the end uses of electricity in the average American household and found the following breakdown:

NOTE

“Other uses” includes small electric devices, heating elements, exterior lights, outdoor grills, pool and spa heaters, backup electricity generators, and motors not listed above. Does not include electric vehicle charging.

Tips for Lowering Electric Bill

  • Reduce space heating/cooling– given that heating & cooling make up a large part of the average electric bill, increasing energy efficiency in this area can have arguably the biggest impact on your bill. Here are some things you can do to reduce your usage in this area:
    • Use a programmable thermostat (can reduce heating/cooling by ~10%)
    • Use extra insulation
    • Dress up/down to the temperature
    • Replace your air filter more often
    • Check seals on windows/doors/appliances for openings/leaks
  • Reduce water heating – one of the next biggest portions of the average electric bill is from water heating, which can be reduced by showering at lower temperatures, taking shorter hot showers and by lowering the temperature on the water heater itself (ideally to 120 degrees Fahrenheit). 
  • Adjust fridge & freezer temperatures – ideally, your fridge should be at 38 degrees and your freezer at 5 degrees Fahrenheit.

Where Does Idaho Get Its Electricity From?

Idaho relies on renewable energy for most of it’s electricity. In fact, 82% of Idaho’s utility-scale electricity generation was only possible because of renewable energy resources according to the EIA.
However, Idaho counts on Canada and a few neighboring states for electricity, as the state only uses 67% of the electricity it produces.
Other sources of electricity include natural gas, ethanol, fuel oil, and petroleum. Some coal is used, but is almost non-existent when talking about energy consumption/generation.

[1] Data from: https://www.eia.gov/electricity/data.php#sales 

Read About Electric Bills in Other States