New York, together with the six New England states and New Jersey, has one of the highest average energy rates in the contiguous United States. In 2017, the average New York household used 572 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity and spent $103.22 for their electric bill. At the same time, the average American household used 867 kWh and spent $111.67 a month for their electric bill. New York’s energy market has been deregulated for both, electricity and natural gas since the late 1990s. It serves over 7.1 million residential electricity customers and about 4.5 million natural gas customers in the state.
Energy Prices in New York Compared to Other States
According to the Energy Information Administration (EIA), the state of New York ranks 7th of all U.S. states for residential electricity prices and 12th for residential natural gas prices.
The average New York retail price for electricity in the residential sector was 18.03 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh) while the national average electricity rate was 12.89 cents per kWh in 2017. In Washington State, residents paid the lowest average electricity rate in the country at 9.66 cents per kWh, whereas Hawaii residents paid the highest average rate at 29.50 cents per kWh.
The average residential electricity rate in New York is 39.9% greater than the national average residential rate and 86.7% greater than the lowest average rate in Washington while rates in Hawaii are 63.6% higher than in New York.
In 2017, the average retail price for natural gas in New York was $12.04 per thousand cubic feet (MCF) or $1.16 per therm. The national average natural gas price was $10.91 per MCF for that year or $1.05 per therm.
The state with the lowest average gas prices was Montana at $7.62 per MCF ($0.73 per therm), while Hawaii was also the state with the highest average natural gas prices at $38.88 per MCF ($3.75 per therm). In total, Hawaii had less than 29,000 natural gas customers in 2017.
In relation, the state with the next highest prices after Hawaii is Florida, where residents paid an average of $21.15 per MCF ($2.04 per therm) in 2017. Natural gas prices in all other states, including Alaska, ranged between $7.62 per MCF in Montana and $16.93 per MCF ($1.63 per therm) in Georgia, which puts New York gas prices in the middle of the 48 states, excluding Hawaii and Florida.
New York’s residential natural gas prices are about 10.4% higher than the national average but 58% higher than natural gas in Montana, the state with the cheapest average residential rates. Residents in Hawaii paid about 223% of the average price New York residents paid in 2017.
Energy Consumption in New York
According to the EIA, in 2016, the total energy consumed per capita and across all sectors in New York was 185 million British Thermal Units (Btu), which equals 54,218 kWh or 54.2 Megawatt-hours (MWh). New York ranks 50th out of the 51 states and the District of Columbia. The only state with a lower per capita consumption is Rohde Island at 176 million Btu (MMBtu) or 51.6 MWh. The total 2016 U.S. consumption per capita was 301 million Btu (88.2 MWh).
Looking at the electric consumption in the residential sector, New York residents were using an average of 572 kWh a month in 2017, which was outdone by Hawaii with an average consumption of 506 kWh per month. At the bottom end is Louisiana with an average consumption of 1,187 kWh per month.
In total, New York’s 19.5 million residents used a little over 1,035 trillion Btu or over 303.3 Terawatt-hours (TWh) in 2016, while the residential sector of the entire United States used 20,050 trillion Btu in total. New York’s share of 5.16% of the nation’s residential energy consumption is close to the states share of 5.95% of the U.S. population of about 328.4 million, according to the United States Census Bureau (February 14, 2019).
The total U.S. residential natural gas consumption in 2017 was 4,412,282 million cubic feet (MMCF), while New York’s 4.5 million residential customers used 432,451 MMCF. New York residential customers make up 6.5% of the total 69 million U.S. residents using natural gas.
With an average electric bill of $103.22 per month, New York residents paid about 92.4% of the national average for residential customers ($111.67) in 2017 and 30.4% more than residents paid in New Mexico, the state with the cheapest average residential electric bill ($79.16 per month). The state with the highest electric bill, to no surprise, was Hawaii, with a monthly average bill of $149.33, followed closely by Alabama with an average bill of $142.55.
In Alabama, the high average monthly consumption of 1,136 kWh per residential customer compensated for the cheap electricity rates of 12.55 cents per kWh. In comparison, Hawaii, the state with the highest electricity rates in the nation, had the lowest average monthly consumption at 506 kWh per residential customer.
Did you know that you can lower your electric bills with smart devices? Smart thermostats allow you to control the energy usage of your air conditioning unit and furnace.
In total, New York’s energy expenditures per capita in 2016 was $2,524, which makes the state the one with the lowest energy spending per person in the nation. The state with the highest energy expenditures per person was Wyoming at $6,813, spending about 2.7 times more on energy than the state of New York. The national average per capita spending was $3,211 in 2016.
According to the U.S. Census, the state of New York had a population of 19,542,209 in 2018, ranking 4th in the nation with the third-largest economy in the country. In 2016, New York spent 3.3% of its GDP on energy, ranking second of all 50 states and the District of Columbia. In comparison, Louisiana spent 11.1% of its GDP on energy alone.
EIA data suggests that states with higher energy cost are using energy increasingly more efficiently and a lower consumption per capita, even across all sectors. New York’s energy efficiency results in part from the New York City metropolitan region's widely used mass transportation systems but also from a higher average of the population living in cities and more importantly in apartments rather than homes. Energy consumption typically decreases with increasing population density while at the same time the energy efficiency in the transportation and housing sectors increases.