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Utility Bills 101: Average Costs of Utility Bills by State (2024 Guide)

Default Author Icon Written by Taelor Candiloro Updated 05/02/2024

Utility bills reflect monthly charges for services such as water, electricity, and gas. Location and usage impact costs, but you can still find ways to save.

From the electricity that powers our homes to the water that sustains us, we all rely on utilities in our daily lives—but the amount people pay for their utilities varies across the United States. This article explores average costs for essential services, compares utility costs between states, and outlines utility cost factors. 

A dedicated team of researchers conducted our comprehensive analysis. We examined data from multiple authoritative sources to provide insight into utility bills by state in 2024. See our methodology for a complete list of sources. 

Whether you live in Connecticut and pay the highest average utility bills, or in Utah, which boasts the lowest average utility bills, understanding these figures is the first step toward smarter budgeting and cost-saving strategies.


Key Findings

Connecticut has the highest average monthly utility bills at $751.13.
Utah has the lowest average utility bills at $520.88 per month.
On average, electric utility bills are the highest, with an average cost of $131.35.
On average, water bills are the lowest, with an average cost of $39.16.
The average U.S. household spends $609.90 on utility bills monthly.


States With the Highest Utility Bills

  • Connecticut: $751.13
  • Hawaii: $738.54
  • Massachusetts: $696.52
  • New Hampshire: $694.52
  • Alaska: $691.12

While these states top the list for the highest utility bills, the impact of these costs goes beyond the raw numbers. The average homeowner should also consider utility bills in proportion to their household income. 

In our analysis, we looked at what percentage of income people in each state typically allocate toward their utility bills to provide a more nuanced view of affordability and economic pressure across different regions. Let’s dive into the details and see how these utility bill costs measure up against the earnings of the average resident.

Connecticut

Connecticut stands out with the highest total monthly utility cost at $751.13, a significant portion of which is electricity ($176.10) and phone services ($166). The percentage of income spent on utilities is 7%, facilitated by a relatively high mean monthly income of $10,680. 

Various charges, including the Revenue Adjustment Mechanism and the Combined Public Benefits Charge, influence the state’s electricity costs.

Hawaii

Hawaii follows closely behind Connecticut, with an average monthly utility cost of $738.54. Electricity makes up the highest percentage of this figure at $221.53. Hawaii’s reliance on imported oil for electricity generation and increased transportation costs due to its remote location contribute to Hawaii having the highest electricity rates in the nation. 

Despite a slightly lower mean monthly income than Connecticut ($10,080.75), Hawaii residents spend 7.3% of their income on utilities, highlighting the impact of high living costs.

Massachusetts

Massachusetts boasts the lowest percentage of income spent on utilities (6.2%) among the top five states, with a total utility cost of $696.52 per month and the second-highest mean income ($11,151.92) among the states analyzed. This suggests that Massachusetts residents have a more manageable utility cost burden despite high electricity rates (around 28 cents per kilowatt-hour as of November 2023). 

The state’s economic conditions and energy policies likely contribute to this scenario. Massachusetts residents benefit from a robust economy with healthcare, education, and technology sectors that offer higher-paying jobs. The state’s commitment to clean energy, as outlined in the Massachusetts Clean Energy and Climate Plan for 2025 and 2030, includes initiatives that aim to transition to sustainable energy sources and improve energy efficiency. These policies support a more sustainable energy infrastructure and help mitigate the overall utility costs for residents by promoting energy savings.

New Hampshire

New Hampshire’s utility costs are similar to Massachusetts at $694.52 per month. With a lower mean monthly income ($9,954.33), the percentage of income spent on utilities is higher at 7%. The significant contributors to these costs include electricity ($149.91) and internet/cable services ($151).

Alaska

Despite having the lowest total utility costs among the five top states ($691.12 per month), Alaska residents spend the highest percentage of their income on utilities (7.6%). This discrepancy is largely due to Alaska’s lower mean monthly income ($9,127) and harsh climate, which necessitates higher heating costs, particularly for gas at $133.17 per month. The state’s unique climate conditions underscore the role of local factors in utility costs.


States With the Lowest Utility Bills

  • Utah: $520.88
  • New Mexico: $525.55
  • Idaho: $526.65
  • Iowa: $543
  • Montana: $546.36

Utah

Utah has the most affordable utility costs at an average of $520.88 per month. Residents spend 5.5% of their mean monthly income of $9,503.67 on utilities. This efficiency is largely attributed to Utah’s commitment to energy-efficient building codes and renewable energy sources. These initiatives lower utility bills and enhance the quality of life and financial security for Utahns. The state’s proactive approach, including offering programs to assist with energy bills and energy-saving tips, helps residents reduce their utility expenses.

New Mexico

New Mexico is a low-cost state for utilities, with residents spending $525.55 per month on utilities on average. This means they spend 7.7% of their mean monthly income of $6,865.17 on utilities. New Mexico has the second-lowest average electric bill ($91.21), which contributes to its affordable utilities. New Mexico’s largest energy provider is planning a rate request in 2024 in an effort to reduce utility costs.

Idaho

Idaho’s adoption of the Western Energy Imbalance Market (EIM) and a strong focus on renewable energy sources, which accounted for 75% of its electricity generation in 2022, played crucial roles in maintaining low utility costs in the state. Idahoans spend $526.65 on average per month, which is 6.7% of their mean monthly income of $7,875.25, on utilities. 

Iowa

Iowa addresses utility cost burdens by providing support to low-income households through the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). Iowa utility bills are, on average, $543 per month. This accounts for 7% of Iowans’ mean monthly income of $7,724.50. Assistance initiatives help ensure all residents can manage their utility expenses.

Montana

Montana’s average utility costs are $546.36, and its mean monthly income is $7,572.80. Residents allocate 7.2% of their income to cover utility expenses, positioning Montana in the moderate range for utility cost burden. The data suggests an equitable spread of costs across different utility services, with no single expense category disproportionately driving up the financial load for Montanans.


Average Monthly Utility Costs in the United States

The cost of utilities is a significant part of monthly household expenses in the United States. These costs can vary depending on the region, the household size, and usage patterns. On average, the monthly utility costs in the United States can be broken down as follows:

Sewer: $71.16
Water: $39.16
Gas: $80.33
Internet/cable: $118
Electric: $135.25
Phone: $166
Total monthly average cost: $609.90

Electric Bill

Electricity is a cornerstone utility in modern life, powering everything from your lighting to your heating and cooling systems. If you have a well, electricity ensures that your home has running water. Electricity is woven into nearly every aspect of daily life, so understanding your electric bill is important.

Average Costs of Electric Bills

Based on the latest data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), the average monthly electric bill in the United States is $135.25, a slight decrease from previous figures. 

Hawaii remains the state with the highest average monthly electric bill at $221.53 due to its reliance on imported oil for power generation. Utah boasts the lowest average at $84.87 and benefits from its access to cheaper and renewable energy sources. 

How To Save Money on Your Electric Bill

Investing in solar power from any of the top-tier solar providers can save money on your electric bill in the long run. You can try these simple steps for short-term results:

  • Perform regular maintenance on your HVAC system to improve efficiency.
  • Set your thermostat a few degrees lower in the winter and higher in the summer.
  • Take advantage of off-peak rates, if available.
  • Unplug devices when not in use to prevent “phantom” energy consumption.
  • Use energy-efficient appliances and LED light bulbs.

Gas Bill

Natural gas can be used for heating and cooking in homes. Not all homes use natural gas, but gas powers stoves, furnaces, and water heaters in those that do. In colder climates, natural gas keeps your house warm without requiring you to spend an outrageous amount on your electricity bill.

Average Costs of Gas Bills

Based on the latest data from the American Gas Association (AGA), the average gas bill in the United States is $80.33 per month, an annual expense of $964. This is a notable increase from the 2021 reported average of $761 annually, reflecting changes in consumption patterns and market prices. 

Maine has the highest average monthly gas bill at $148.42, likely due to its colder climate and reliance on heating. Utah has the lowest average bill at $41.33, benefiting from milder weather and possibly more efficient energy use. These figures highlight the variance in gas bills across the country, influenced by regional climates, energy policies, and natural gas availability. 

How To Save Money on Your Gas Bill

Natural gas is often used for heating, so you can lower your monthly bills by upgrading your insulation and adjusting your thermostat settings. Here are a few tips to decrease your gas usage:

  • Dial down the temperature on your water heater.
  • Insulate your hot water pipes.
  • Opt for energy-efficient appliances.
  • Seal windows and doors with caulk or weatherstripping to prevent heat loss.
  • Use a smart thermostat to lower the temperature when you’re asleep or away.

Check out the video below to learn more about how to save money on your heating bills. Richard and Ross Trethewey cover attic insulation, window and door seals, and potential gaps in your home’s building envelope.


Water Bill

Water is indispensable for drinking, cleaning, cooking, and sanitation. For many households, the city or county’s public utilities department bundles water and sewage services together. Homeowners in rural areas often rely on well water and a septic tank.

Average Costs of Water Bill

Based on World Population Review data, the average U.S. water bill is $39.16 per month or $429.33 per year. Water bills vary significantly by state. West Virginia has the highest average monthly bill at $91, while Vermont and Wisconsin have the lowest at $18. Factors including local water supply infrastructure, treatment costs, and state regulations influence these disparities.

How To Save Money on Your Water Bill

The EPA estimates that you can cut your water usage by 20% and save $380 or more each year by upgrading to WaterSense-certified fixtures and Energy Star-certified appliances. Here are more water-saving tips:

  • Fix leaks promptly to prevent wasted water.
  • Run dishwashers and washing machines with full loads.
  • Use rain barrels for your outdoor watering needs.
  • Water lawns and gardens during cooler times of the day to minimize evaporation.

Trash Bill

Your local trash collection company handles the removal and disposal of common household garbage. This service may be provided by your local government or a private company; some households have multiple options. Effective waste management ensures a more hygienic living environment and a cleaner community. This bill may or may not include recycling services.

Average Costs of Trash Bill

According to data from Capital One, you can expect to pay between $25 and $100 per month for residential trash collection. The cost varies by location and container size. Many companies offer multiple bin sizes and pickup schedules, which allows you to customize your service. Recycling may be included or available for an additional fee depending on the company.

How To Save Money on Your Trash Bill

Lowering your trash bill can be as simple as being mindful of waste generation—especially if your trash company offers multiple bin sizes or tiers of service. Here are a few tips:

  • Be mindful of additional fees and avoid extra services.
  • Check with your provider about discounts and bundling options.
  • Opt for a smaller trash bin if your household produces less waste.
  • Separate recyclables to take advantage of recycling credits.
  • Use a compost bin for organic waste to reduce regular trash.

Sewer Bill

Sewer bills cover the treatment and disposal of wastewater from your home. In some regions, sewage services are billed separately from water, while other municipalities bundle them. This utility is essential for public health and sanitation. Some houses lie outside the local sewer system’s reach and use a private septic tank.

Average Costs of Sewer Bill

Based on the latest insights from Bluefield Research, the average monthly sewer bill in the United States is $71.16, or an annual cost of $853.92. Sewer service costs have increased by about 4% year over year for the past 12 years, and sewer bills are higher than water service due to the complexities involved in wastewater treatment. 

Connecticut residents face the highest average monthly bill at $89.53. Illinois has the lowest average at $74.97, which might be attributed to more efficient wastewater management systems or different state regulations and policies. 

How To Save Money on Your Sewer Bill

Water and sewer services are inextricably linked, so the best way to lower your sewer bill is to decrease your water consumption. Here are a few tips:

  • Inquire about discounts for low-income households or senior citizens.
  • Regularly check for plumbing leaks and fix them promptly.
  • Reuse greywater (any household wastewater except that used for toilet flushing).
  • Use water-efficient fixtures and appliances.

Internet/Cable Bill

In today’s connected world, internet and cable services are essential for staying informed, entertained, and in touch with loved ones. The monthly cost of these services varies across the United States.

Average Costs of Internet and Cable Bill

According to the United States of Bill Pay doxoINSIGHTS Report 2023, the average monthly cost for cable and internet in the U.S. is $118. This expense represents a significant portion of household bills, accounting for 4.9% of the $3.87 trillion spent annually. 

The states with the highest average monthly internet and cable bills include New Hampshire, Maine, Alaska, Delaware, and Maryland. Cities such as Saint Paul, Minneapolis, Sacramento, and Tampa feature the least expensive internet and cable bills, suggesting more competitive pricing or different service offerings. 

How To Save Money on Your Internet and Cable Bill

Shop around and compare discounts to save money on your internet bill. You can also take the following steps:

  • Assess speed requirements. Downgrade your plan if your current internet speed exceeds your needs.
  • Buy your modem and router to avoid rental fees from your provider.
  • Cancel any premium channels you rarely use.
  • Combine internet and cable for potential discounts.
  • Contact your provider to negotiate better rates, using competitor offers as leverage.
  • Look for provider discounts, promotions, and government assistance programs such as Lifeline.
  • Opt for a smaller cable package with only the channels you watch.
  • Regularly review your bill for unnecessary charges and remove services you don’t use.
  • Switch to more affordable providers or free streaming services as substitutes for cable.

Phone Bill

While landline phones still have their place, cell phones have become far more common in the United States. Cell phones have become integral to our daily routines, providing texting, calling, navigation, and entertainment.

Average Costs of Phone Bill

According a recent J.D. Power data, Americans pay an average of $166 per month for mobile phone service. Like internet costs, the biggest factors affecting your phone bill are the carrier and plan you choose. 

Plans from the nation’s three largest carriers—AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon—cost more than other plans but offer more perks. Most customers can save money by switching to a smaller provider, such as Mint, Visible, or Twigby.

How To Save Money on Your Phone Bill

Save money on your phone bill by shopping around. Here are a few tips for cutting costs:

  • Avoid unnecessary add-ons, such as phone insurance or international calling.
  • Check if your employer, school, or organization offers a corporate discount.
  • Evaluate your data usage and choose the most cost-effective plan that meets your needs.
  • Keep an eye out for promotional offers.
  • Take advantage of family or multi-line discounts for cost-sharing.

Our Conclusion

Utility bills are more than just monthly payments; they reflect consumption habits, regional policies, and the efficiency of home appliances. By examining average costs across states, we gain a clearer picture of the financial impact utilities have on American households. Armed with this knowledge, you can make informed decisions, adopt energy-saving practices, and explore cost-saving opportunities. Proactive steps ease the financial burden and pave the way for a more sustainable and economically sound future.


FAQ About Utility Bills

How do you budget for utility bills?

You can budget for utility bills more accurately by adding up your last year’s worth of bills and dividing by 12. This will give you a monthly average that accounts for seasonal fluctuations. Many utility companies offer budget billing plans that do this work for you and make your monthly bills more predictable.

How do I set up utilities when I move?

To set up utilities when you move, make a list of the utility companies that service your new address and contact each of them a few weeks before your move-in date. Be prepared to provide your name, contact information, desired start date, and a deposit or setup fee.

Why do my utility bills change from month to month?

Some utility bills change from month to month due to seasonal fluctuations. For instance, you might have a higher electricity bill in the summer, when your AC is running more often. You might also see a difference due to rate changes, the length of the billing cycle, and whether your bill was based on an estimate or actual reading.

What is the difference between estimated and actual meter readings?

An estimated meter reading is a calculation your utility company makes based on past or average usage. An actual reading occurs when a representative physically reads your meter. Your bill will be adjusted if an estimate was inaccurate.

How do I get help paying my utility bills?

You can get help paying your utility bills from state and federal programs such as LIHEAP (Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program). Some local organizations and individual utility companies may also offer assistance to families in need.


Methodology

To determine the cost of utilities in each state, we analyzed data from the following sources:

Garbage bills were not included in our average utility costs due to a lack of reliable state-by-state estimates. The average phone bill ($166) is accounted for in the average utility bill for a U.S. household. Internet and cable costs were combined per the source.

Fair Use Policy

We invite you to share the insights from this study with your community for noncommercial purposes. Please include a link back to this page to allow your readers full access to our comprehensive findings and methodology.

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