Equality of all aspects is a hot topic of discussion both in the United States and around the world. Gender, marriage, and income just to name a few. A topic that is not often touched on, but of equal importance, is energy equality.
What is energy equality? Energy equality refers to equal rates for energy sources across the United States. These energy sources include electricity and natural gas. What we are experiencing is energy inequality. The price for energy is gravely unequal across the United States, and it is not related to the cost of producing the energy, but rather lack of means to produce it. This is a prevalent issue, especially for those considering relocating to a new state.
Electricity prices per kWh vary substantially by state. While it looks like much of the U.S. is paying between 7.13₵ /kWh – 13.71₵ /kWh, the states that are in the darker blue are subject to paying double that rate. See below:
Photo sourced from: U.S. Energy Information Administration (eia.gov).
The United States average price per kWh is 10.44₵ (eia.gov.) Much of the United States is paying below average or near average for their electricity rates. However, there are 11 states that pay more than double the average of the country. This means that 22% of the United States gets charged an exorbitant amount for electricity, because of lack of availability to power plants (eia.gov.)
A couple of cents extra per kWh does not seem like it is enough to make a substantial impact on household budgets. However, every 5₵ adds about $600.00 to annual household electricity costs (Petrowski, 39.) This is something to largely consider in cost of living.
Natural gas as a home heating choice is on an upward trend. According to the U.S. Energy information administration, about 61% of homes in the United States use natural gas instead of other fuels in their home (eia.gov.) However, the price of natural gas is largely unequal across the U.S. The pricing of natural gas depends on the how close each state is to gas fields. The pricing varies greatly. 2016 9-month YTD average cost for natural gas is $10.01/thousand cubic feet. As of September 2016, Hawaii was paying about $35.35/thousand cubic feet. This is more than triple the national average, while Pennsylvania was paying $18.78/thousand cubic feet- almost half the cost of Hawaii’s rate (eia.gov)
Energy rate inequality is an issue that is not spoken about often, but it is a problem that our nation faces. If you are considering moving to a different state, something to keep in mind and perhaps budget for would be overall energy costs that vary across the Nation.