We dug into the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s data to look at the average monthly electric bill for Arkansas 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.
Why Are Electric Bills in Arkansas Comparatively Low?
The two factors that make up the cost an electric bill are (1) cost and (2) consumption. Looking at each, you’ll notice the cost of electricity in Arkansas is much lower than the national average–23.8% less, to be exact. However, electricity consumption is much higher than most other states, with residents consuming 26.5% more electricity than average.
Reasons for Low Electricity Rates in Arkansas
With electricity rates being 23.8% lower than the national average in Arkansas, it’s important to understand what makes electricity more or less expensive. The factors affecting this number are:
- Supply – an 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.
- 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 Arkansas
Given that electricity consumption in the state is much higher than the national average, sitting at 26.5% more, 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:
“Other uses” includes small electric devices, heating elements, exterior lights, outdoor grills, pool and spa heaters, backup electricity generators, and motors not listed above. This 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 Arkansas Get Its Electricity From?
Arkansas benefits from a variety of sources for its electricity. However, coal makes up the majority of Arkansas’ electrical makeup, making up 44% of the state’s electricity generation. Furthermore, Arkansas uses nuclear power for much of the state–one-fifth to be more specific.
Arkansas uses a lot of natural gas, however, though the significant figure can be blamed on the large amounts of rice the state produces.
Other sources of electricity generation are ethanol, fuel oil, and biomass.
 Data from: https://www.eia.gov/electricity/data.php#sales