Do Texans lead the U.S. in energy consumption? According to a 2017 report compiled by the U.S. Energy Information Administration, we do. The Lone Star State has kept this streak going for almost 60 years. If you’re a trivia buff, check this out: about 13 percent of the energy consumed in the U.S. comes from Texas. Makes sense, after all, Texas is the second most populated state, and the second largest by land area. Here’s another staggering statistic to throw around at your next trivia match: the power consumed in Texas is nearly 100 times more than the state of Vermont!
Californians use the least amount of electricity per capita but have some of the highest electric rates. However, natural gas is the primary source of power for California’s residential needs. In Texas, half the energy consumed is for industrial use, with the most significant consumption coming from natural gas. Texans do seem to consume more electricity than Californians, but our weather is very different, and we pay lower electricity rates. Big cities like San Diego and San Francisco are coastal and the weather is mild, but the average retail price of electricity in California is almost twice as much as Texas. Some of the biggest urban areas in Texas are nowhere near the ocean — and yet we have to deal with heat-trapping humidity. Luckily, we can crank our air conditioners to cool our homes when we need to.
Energy Consumption and Average Electricity Rates
The thing is, a lot of the energy consumption data out there doesn’t tell the whole story. For instance, when you adjust energy usage by population, Texas is at the bottom 20 percent in residential energy consumption per capita. When you compare the annual average price per kilowatt hour, you’ll find that Texas has some of the lowest electricity rates in the nation. In Texas, the 2017 average retail price was 8.38 cents per kWh. Of course, your household habits can have a significant effect on your electricity bill. Fortunately, there are a lot of ways to reduce energy use at home.
Many of our neighboring states enjoy low electricity rates too. When comparing 2017 U.S. electricity rates compiled by the U.S. Energy Information Administration, Louisiana had the lowest electricity rates (7.7 cents per kWh), with Oklahoma (8.20 cents per kWh) ranking at number three. On the opposite spectrum are states such as Alaska and Hawaii. Those two states have the highest electricity rates in the nation. In 2017, Hawaii paid an average of 26.05 cents per kWh and Alaska paid an average of 19.10 cents per kWh. Compare that to Texas’ 8.38 cents per kWh. Texans do get to enjoy lower residential rates than many other states in the country. However, new data shows a 3.6 percent increase in electricity rates from April 2018 to April 2019. Texas has seen an increase in average commercial electricity rates, too. From April 2018 to April 2019 rates have gone up 2.2 percent.
Comparing Commercial Rates and Usage
Where does Texas stack up in commercial energy consumption and rates? The average electric bill for businesses in the U.S. is about $660 (data from March 2019). It’s a lot trickier for businesses because there are more variations in the business sector — from small local businesses to large industrial buildings that can take up whole city blocks. The good news is that Texas’ commercial rates are amongst the lowest in the nation. In April 2019, commercial rates were at 8.34 cents per kilowatt-hour.
The Future of Renewable Energy Use
While Texas might be number one in residential energy consumption in terms of BTUs, we’re also the largest net exporter of energy. States like California, Florida, and New York import their energy. We also have the title of producing and consuming the most energy in the U.S. Texas generates almost twice as much electricity as Florida, which is the nation’s second highest electricity-producing state. Petroleum and coal products have been our state’s largest export — we lead the nation in crude oil and natural gas production.
However, it’s not all about dirtier energy sources. Renewable energy continues to make significant strides in Texas. We lead the nation in generating clean electricity from wind power. We’ve got plenty of sun and wind in our state to generate power for homes and businesses. So, while we’re the largest producers of oil and natural gas, we’re also the largest producer of wind energy. All these energy options make Texas unique in that we have an internal competitive power market.
In Texas, both commercial and residential customers can choose their electricity provider. This means that with some smart comparison shopping, you can select a provider that is best suited to the size of your home or business. Other factors to consider are the time and days you consume the most energy. Also, customers that are interested in cleaner energy options can make the switch to renewable energy plans from trusted electricity providers. Vault Electricity provides an easy-to-understand electricity rate comparison process, so you have the best options from the top electricity providers in your area.
See Related: Texas’ Most Energy Efficient Cities