Average Electric Bill in Maryland

We dug into the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s data[1] to look at the average monthly electric bill for Maryland 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.

$133.68
average monthly residential electric bill in Maryland
*This is 13.6% greater than the United States national average, which is $117.65.
13.3¢/kWh
average residential electric rate for households in MD
*This is 3.3% greater than the U.S. average, which is 12.87¢/kWh.
1,005 kWh
average monthly residential electricity consumption in MD
*This is 10% greater than the national average (914 kWh) & the 21st highest in the U.S..
8th
Maryland ranking for highest electric bill in the United States
*Relative to average monthly household income (2.03%), MD has the 10th highest bill.

Why Are Electric Bills in Maryland Comparatively High?

The two factors that make up the cost an electric bill are (1) cost and (2) consumption. Looking at each, Maryland’s electrical rate doesn’t seem that expensive, only averaging 3.3% higher rates than the national average. Keep in mind, however, that residents of Maryland consume 10% more electricity than average.

Reasons for High Electricity Rates in Maryland

With electricity rates only being 3.3% higher than the national average, 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 Maryland

Since residents of Maryland consume 10% more electricity than the average state, 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 Maryland Get Its Electricity From?

Maryland plans on using renewable energy for 50% of their electricity generation by 2030. As of now, 12% of the state’s generation came through renewable energy. As for the rest, ethanol and natural gas make up large portions of the state’s electricity map. 34% of the state’s electricity, however, was produced by Maryland’s Calvert Cliffs power station, a nuclear power plant.

Maryland also uses coal as one of its main power sources. In fact, nearly one-fifth of the nation’s coal imports came through Baltimore’s port. The only port that beats the state is located in Norfolk, Virginia.

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

Read About Electric Bills in Other States