Economic Energy

As summer swelters on and air-conditioners work overtime, Americans everywhere can expect to get hit by bigger electricity bills than usual. That’s because electricity prices, which crept up earlier this year, are expected to continue climbing through 2011. The U.S. Energy Information Administration expects the average price of residential electricity to rise 2.9 percent, from 11.6¢ per kilowatt hour in 2010 to 11.9¢ per kilowatt hour. In 2012, annual growth is forecast to slow to 0.6 percent. The hike may seem significant, yet customers of some electric utilities are accustomed to paying more. Businessweek.com ranked the most expensive utility in each state using data on 3,076 utilities provided by the U.S. Energy Information Administration from 2009, the most recent annual survey of all utilities in the U.S. (the agency also conducts a smaller monthly survey of about 500 utilities). In states where the most expensive utility serves only a small number of residential customers, Businessweek.com also provides the next most expensive utility with more than 1,000 residential customers. Prices tended to be high in areas with small populations, rural areas, and cities with high operating costs. Hawaii had the highest average residential price of electricity, at 24.2¢ per kilowatt hour in 2009, compared with a U.S. average of 11.51¢, followed by Connecticut and New York, the EIA data show. Average prices were the lowest in North Dakota, Washington, and Idaho.

Click here to see the most expensive electric utility in each state.
Photographer: Lars Baron/Getty Images
 
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