How Much Is the Average Electric Bill for an Apartment? + Money-Saving Tips
Rising energy costs have a major impact on renters’ monthly budgets. After electricity bills increased by an average of 11% in 2021 and 5% in 2022, you may not know where prices stand at the end of 2023. In fact, even finding out how much the average electric bill for an apartment costs takes more research than you’d expect.
Whether you’re wondering why your electric bill is so high or you want to get ahead on budgeting, we’ll cover the average electricity costs for an apartment, how the size and location of your unit affect prices, and tips to keep costs low.
What Is the Average Energy Bill for an Apartment?
In a single month, the average cost of electricity for an apartment is $83.63. Bear in mind that this number doesn’t account for an apartment’s size, location, or number of tenants. Here’s how we calculated that amount:
- Nationally, the average price of electricity in cents per kilowatt hour (kWh) comes out to 15.93.
- The average apartment also uses 6,300 kWh per year, or an average of 525 kWh per month.
- Multiplying the cost of electricity in dollars ($0.1593) with the average monthly usage (525 kWh) equals $83.63 per month.
How Much Energy Does the Average Apartment Require?
While $83.63 is a good baseline, other factors influence your bill. Larger apartments require more power than small studios. Additionally, the more residents in a unit, the larger its energy footprint. To flesh out the average cost, here’s the average monthly energy consumption by apartment size:
- Studio apartment (>600 square feet): 300-500 kWh
- 1-bedroom apartment (~750 square feet): 500-750 kWh
- 2-bedroom apartment (~1,000 square feet): 650-875 kWh
- 3-bedroom apartment (~1,250 square feet): 800-1,100 kWh
How Much Do Other Utilities Cost per Month?
Depending on your lease, you may have to pay for other utilities. While some landlords package all utilities together, you shouldn’t assume that before reading a housing contract. If you have to pay for your own utilities, budget for:
- Gas: $4.107 per gallon consumed
- Water: an average of $91 per month
- Internet: an average of $65 per month
Average Apartment Energy Bill by State
The cost of energy can vary dramatically by state. We created this table to help you find state-by-state averages. Because we looked at average energy consumption and each state’s rate, the table won’t account for your unit’s size. Even if you have multiple rooms or roommates, you can use this table as a baseline.
What Factors Drive Up Apartment Energy Costs?
Here are a few other factors to look out for when estimating energy costs.
Your apartment’s location ties into energy prices. Because the cost of energy varies by state, two identical units using the same amount of power in different states get different bills. Where you live in a state also affects the cost. As a general rule of thumb, metro areas place a higher cost on electricity than rural areas.
States with deregulated energy markets allow different power companies to compete. Each provider can set their own prices and contract terms. While energy companies all aim around the market rate, you can find ways to cut costs. Deals, discounts, and unique billing options change how much you pay.
Not all providers and energy plans calculate bills the same way. Here are a few popular billing approaches:
- Fixed rates: Fixed-rate contracts set a stable price for kWh consumption. So, even as the cost of energy changes, your monthly bills won’t reflect this change. Switching or renewing contracts may lead to a price change.
- Variables rates: Variable rate contracts base your monthly kWh cost on external factors. So, if the price of energy goes up, you will pay more even if your consumption stays the same.
- Budget billing: Budget billing contracts look at your past energy consumption and divide yearly averages into 12 even bills. While budget billing doesn’t save money, it leads to more predictable charges.
- On-demand charges: Demand billing charges you based on peak usage, not total usage. It takes the highest 15-to-60-minute interval of power consumption and multiplies it by your rate. As a result, you pay based on energy demand during that specific interval.
- Time-of-use rates: Time-of-use pricing bases your rate on the time of day energy is consumed. So, using power before 9 a.m. and after 5 p.m. costs more than energy use at noon.
Landlords have flexibility in deciding how to bill tenants for their apartment utilities. If your housing contract includes energy, your landlord may only bill you for your unit’s consumption. However, many landlords split the electricity bill evenly between all units. Before signing a lease that includes utility payments, read the fine print to see how you’ll pay.
External Economic Factors
Factors outside your or your energy provider’s control can affect your bills. External factors and economic shifts can increase costs. A few common examples include:
- Supply and demand: High energy demand and low supply raise costs.
- Weather and seasonality: Extreme weather in high or low temperatures and natural disasters increase the cost of energy.
- Geopolitics and world events: Wars, trade disputes, and economic downturns shake the electricity market.
- Grid infrastructure and power generation availability: Damaged grids and poor infrastructure increase the cost of getting power to customers.
Tips for Keeping Apartment Energy Bills Low
Keep these tips in mind to ensure your apartment’s energy bill stays as low as possible.
Look for Newer Units
New apartments are generally more energy-efficient than older units. Modern studios and one-bedrooms, in particular, take less energy. Modern apartments also tend to offer better insulation, driving down your heating and cooling costs on top of the improved energy efficiency.
Sharing appliances with your friends, family, and roommates can cut energy costs. Here are a few easy ways to use less energy together:
- Brew large batches of coffee for the entire household.
- Combine loads of laundry.
- Don’t run a dishwasher until it’s full.
- Share space heaters, fans, and AC units.
Unplug Vampire Appliances
Plugged-in devices consume power, even when they aren’t in use. These "vampire" devices leave an energy footprint in rest mode, so remember to unplug appliances after using them. A few common vampire appliances include:
- Cable/satellite boxes
- DVR, VCR, and DVD players
- Video game consoles
- Standby coffee makers
- Devices with standby lights or a clock
Look for Energy-Saving Opportunities
If possible, look for opportunities to avoid using power at all. For example, you can buy an air drying rack or clothesline instead of using a dryer. Fireplaces can also replace heaters, and opening windows can let in a breeze to stay cool.
Try Space Heaters and Fans
Central heating and air conditioning leave the biggest energy footprint. So, replacing your heating and cooling systems with heaters and fans can lead to high savings. This is especially true in the middle of winter and summer, when energy costs tend to rise with temperature control usage. Heat pumps and mini splits also give you more temperature control options.
Lower Your Apartment’s Electric Bills With Arbor
Whether you’re looking to move or already signed a lease, learning the average electric bill for an apartment can help you budget. While the cost varies by size and location, these averages can get you off to a solid start. With this little bit of planning, you can ensure costs don’t get out of hand.
If you want to find a lower energy rate automatically, Arbor can help. By entering your ZIP code, we can find new energy plans in your area to cut down on your monthly bill. With just a few clicks, you can enjoy a lower rate at no additional charge.