How Much Is Electricity?: What You Get For a Penny
About the only thing of value you can still get for a penny is electricity. The cost of electricity, for the value you receive in return, is about as good as it gets.
Let’s say the average rate for a kilowatt-hour (kWh) of electricity is 10 cents. Put another way, if you use 1,000 watts of electricity for 60 minutes, that would cost a dime; and 100 watts of electricity would cost you just a single penny. That is enough to power a 9-watt LED light bulb, the equivalent of a 60-watt incandescent bulb, for 11 hours, all for only a penny. Where else can you get that kind of value?
How many eggs will a penny buy? How much milk, bread, coffee or medicine? How far would you get with a penny of gas with the high prices we are seeing now?
And what about your smartphone? Using an average 10 cents per kWh, you can fully charge your iPhone more than 18 times for a penny. That means you can charge it once every day of the year for about 20 cents total.
How Much Electricity Does the U.S. Use in a Year?
We are fortunate electricity is such an excellent value because we have a huge appetite for it. Electricity is not expensive. It’s that we use it for so many different things: lighting, heating, cooking, cooling, refrigeration, cleaning, washing, working, entertainment, communications and transportation.
Despite energy efficiency advancements, the average household uses more electronic gadgets and needs more power to operate them yearly. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the United States used 3.9 trillion kilowatt hours of electricity in 2021. That's 13 times more electricity than was used in 1950!
How Much Does Electricity Cost Per Month?
According to the EIA, the average U.S. household used 10,715 kilowatt hours of electricity in 2020, which equates to 893 kWh per month. The national average cost of electricity was $122 per month per household.
Due in part to the cost-effectiveness of electric cooperatives such as AECI, the cost of electricity remains low. The average cost per kilowatt hour of electricity in Missouri, Iowa, and Oklahoma – the states served by AECI and our local cooperative partners – was only 8.75 cents per kWh.
Clearly, our appetite for electricity shows no signs of slowing down. So, the next time you flip a switch, turn on your television or run your washing machine, remember the value electricity holds. It's also important to know that employees at your local electric cooperative are looking out for you by working together to keep electric bills affordable, controlling costs through innovation, and putting you, our members, first.