Average Electric Bill in Massachusetts

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

$131.20
average monthly residential electric bill in Mass.
*This is 11.5% greater than the United States national average, which is $117.65.
21.61¢/kWh
average residential electric rate for households in Mass.
*This is 67.9% greater than the U.S. average, which is 12.87¢/kWh.
607 kWh
average monthly residential electricity consumption in Mass.
*This is 33.6% less than the national average (914 kWh) & the 8th lowest in the U.S..
11th
Mass. ranking for highest electric bill in the United States
*Relative to average monthly household income (2.12%), Mass. has the 16th highest bill.

Why Are Electric Bills in Massachusetts Comparatively High?

The two factors that make up the cost an electric bill are (1) cost and (2) consumption. Looking at each, cost sees a significant increase in Massachusetts compared to the national average, costing 21.61¢ per kWh. On the flip side, residents of Massachusetts tend to consume 33.6% less electricity than the national average.

Reasons for High Electricity Rates in Massachusetts

Because electric rates in Massachusetts suffer from a significant increase when compared to most other states (67.9%), 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 Low Electricity Consumption in Massachusetts

Unlike the state’s electric rates, Massachusetts experiences much lower electricity consumption than other states (33.6%), 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 Massachusetts Get Its Electricity From?

Massachusetts depends on natural gas for most of its electricity generation. In fact, while 67% of the state’s electricity came from natural gas, 0% came from coal. According to the EIA, this makes Massachusetts the third New England state without any coal generation.

Other than natural gas, Massachusetts uses nuclear electric power and biomass to power much of their electricity generation, though 26% of resident’s homes counted on fuel oil to keep their homes heated. The old statistic was 35%, however, with natural gas making up the difference.

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

Read About Electric Bills in Other States