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Americans Reflect on Power Bill Costs

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Key Takeaways

  • After seeing their new power bill, over 1 in 4 people who moved in the past year had to cut back on their spending.
  • Only 47% of house hunters considered electricity costs when looking at potential homes.
  • New Hampshire is the state looking for power bill relief the most.

Shocking Power Prices

Whether trying to stay cool in the summer, warm in the winter, or just keep the lights on, the monthly cost of electricity can come as a shock. Rising energy costs have many Americans tightening budgets and searching for energy-saving hacks.

To learn more about how electricity costs affect Americans, we looked at Google Trends search volume and reviewed data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration. We also surveyed 1,004 Americans about their home and electricity costs, including almost one-third of whom moved into a new home within the past year.

Read on to discover how Americans are managing the rising costs of electric bills and learn some tips to help you save energy.

Moving Up Electric Costs

To begin our investigation into American electric bills, we asked people who moved homes within the past year about their house-hunting experience and what role (if any) electricity played in their real estate search.

Americans' reactions to high energy bills
Americans' reactions to high energy bills

While house hunters may be picky regarding kitchen appliances and paint colors, they seem less concerned about utility costs, as less than half (47%) considered potential power costs during their home search. Only 29% of baby boomers factored electric bills into their home shopping, compared to 45% of millennials and 49% of Gen Z.

Unfortunately, home movers who didn’t consider energy costs likely wish they had, as 25% were shocked by how expensive the first electric bill in their new place was. In fact, about 1 in 4 tightened their budgets after receiving their first bill, and 1 in 10 delayed planned home renovations. A further 1 in 10 worried about affording their electric bill, and 7% struggled to pay other bills while keeping the lights on.

Searching for Energy Savings

With so many Americans anxious over energy costs, we analyzed Google Trends search volume to discover where people are struggling the most. We looked at searches related to power bill relief, like “Why is my power bill high” and “Electricity bill savings tips.”

While there were plenty of power bill concerns across the country, New England was the epicenter of energy woes, as five states in the region were among the top 10 conducting the most searches for power bill relief. New Hampshire had the most searches, with 120 per 100,000 residents, and Maine tied Wyoming for second place with 117.

States in the central Midwest, southern Mountain, and inland Pacific regions were the least concerned about energy costs, with search volume as low as 36 per 100,000 residents.

Pulling the Plug on Higher Prices

Making changes for power bill relief can be more effective when you understand how your home uses electricity. We examined how home size, age, type, style, and sun exposure can affect power use. We also have some tips to help you save energy—and money.

how home characteristics impact energy bills
how home characteristics impact energy bills

Of all the home specs we looked at, home size had the biggest impact on electric bill costs. According to data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration, homes with less than 1,000 square feet had an average monthly power bill of $112, while homes with double the square footage cost nearly double the energy.

Home type also significantly impacted energy use, with shared walls cutting energy costs by almost half. While electric bills in detached homes cost an average of $241 monthly, attached homes averaged $168 per month, and apartments just $128.

Home age was another factor in power bill affordability. Homes built in the 1990s and 2000s had the highest monthly energy bills at over $200, while homes built in the 2010s had the lowest at an average of $146. The lower power bills of new homes may be due to increased popularity of and investment in energy-efficient design and engineering, with more homes built with energy-efficient windows, energy-saving appliances, higher-grade insulation, and other energy-saving techniques.

Surprisingly, homes built before 1950 had the second lowest electric bills; this could be due to energy-efficient renovations.

Let’s look at more data gathered from our survey of 1,004 Americans.

how different features impact energy costs
how different features impact energy costs

While home style played a role in power bill costs, it wasn’t particularly significant, as there was only a $35 per month difference between bills of the least and most expensive home styles.

On the other hand, sun exposure had a surprising impact on electric bill costs. Natural light in the home can help save on lighting costs, but the time of day light enters your home can increase your electricity bill, with morning light ($138) being significantly cheaper than midday ($154) or afternoon sun ($152).

On average, respondents reported spending an average of $146 per month on their electricity bill. Gen Z was the most thrifty and spent just $136 monthly, possibly due to their increased likelihood of living in smaller accommodations.

The good news is that even if you have a large, detached home hit by the afternoon sun, there are plenty of ways to save money on your power bill.

Unleash the Power of Energy Efficiency: Your appliances might be zapping more energy than you realize. You can trim your power bills by installing energy-efficient alternatives, from LED bulbs to ENERGY STAR-rated appliances.

Champion the Thermostat Game: Your thermostat isn’t just a temperature control panel; it’s a key player in the energy-saving playbook. On average, respondents kept their homes at 73 degrees, but baby boomers nudged theirs to 75. If you lower your thermostat by a few degrees in the winter and keep it a bit higher in the summer, you’ll be amazed at how much you can save by giving your heating and cooling systems a lighter workload.

Master the Art of Off-Peak Hours: Timing is everything, especially when using energy. Many utility providers offer reduced rates during off-peak hours. If your schedule allows, consider shifting high-energy activities like laundry and dishwashing to these off-peak times to capitalize on cost savings.

Seal, Seal, Seal: As solid and enclosed as your home feels, it’s full of tiny cracks and gaps. Whether it’s drafts around windows and doors or gaps in your insulation, sealing these openings can prevent energy leaks and ensure that your heating or cooling systems work more efficiently.

Easing Your Energy Bill Burden

As the cost of everything goes up, power bills are rising. From home size to age to sun exposure, there are aspects of your home’s energy use you may not be able to change. However, you can invest in energy-efficient appliances and develop power-saving habits to ease the electric bill burden on your bank account. With a few tweaks and tricks, you can cut your energy use, lower your bill, and help the planet all at the same.


We surveyed 1,004 Americans about their power bill; 29% had changed homes in the past year. Additionally, we used Google Trends to analyze 14 different search terms related to power bill relief. Finally, we gathered data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

About Payless Power

Payless Power is all about giving Texans straightforward, pay-as-you-go electricity options. Serving both urban and rural communities, we’re dedicated to making energy accessible and affordable for all.

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