Deregulated states fared better in 2017

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By Arthur Murray

Want evidence of the power of electricity deregulation? Look no further than at the average price of residential electricity for all 50 states and the District of Columbia in 2017 compared with the same price the previous year. The average price decreased in only five states – Rhode IslandMarylandOhioMassachusetts, and New Jersey. The common factor – all are deregulated.

But wait! There’s more: The prices – compiled by the federal Energy Information Administration – show that the state with the smallest increase was Delaware, with an 0.1% increase from 2016 to 2017. And Delaware, yes, it’s deregulated, too.

The largest year-to-year increase, on the other hand, occurred in Florida, where prices increased 7.9% in 2017. Earlier this year, a Florida government panel rejected an opportunity to put deregulation on the ballot in November.

The following chart shows the change in average residential electricity prices from 2016 to 2017 (a negative number means the average decreased):

Changes in average residential electricity rates

Increase Increase
Rhode Island -1.7% Kentucky 1.4% Oklahoma 2.7%
Maryland -1.7% Connecticut 1.5% Arizona 2.9%
Ohio -0.8% Montana 1.6% Arkansas 3.0%
Massachusetts -0.4% West Virginia 1.6% Pennsylvania 3.4%
New Jersey -0.2% Kansas 1.6% Minnesota 4.1%
Delaware 0.1% Idaho 1.6% Wisconsin 4.3%
Utah 0.2% Vermont 1.6% New Hampshire 4.7%
Oregon 0.5% Michigan 1.6% California 4.9%
Colorado 0.5% Texas 1.7% Nevada 5.2%
Missouri 0.5% Louisiana 1.8% Alabama 5.2%
North Carolina 0.8% South Dakota 1.8% DC 5.2%
Maine 0.8% Tennessee 2.3% Iowa 5.5%
South Carolina 1.0% North Dakota 2.4% Alaska 6.3%
Washington 1.3% Wyoming 2.5% Mississippi 6.9%
Illinois 1.3% Georgia 2.6% Hawaii 7.4%
Nebraska 1.3% New York 2.6% New Mexico 7.4%
Indiana 1.4% Virginia 2.7% Florida 7.9%

What about business electricity?

The story was much the same for commercial electricity rates. Massachusetts businesses experienced the largest decline – 4.6%. It has deregulation. Four other states – Pennsylvania, Maryland, Illinois, and Delaware – also had declines of more than 1%. All are deregulated.

The largest increase among the continental U.S. came in – again – Florida, where the average rate increased 8.0%.

The following chart shows the change in average commercial electricity prices from 2016 to 2017 (a negative number means the average decreased):

Changes in average commercial electricity rates

Increase   Increase   Increase
Massachusetts -4.6% Nevada 0.6% Indiana 2.9%
Pennsylvania -2.5% Missouri 0.6% Tennessee 3.0%
Maryland -2.1% Washington 0.9% Idaho 3.4%
Illinois -1.7% Kentucky 1.4% Michigan 3.6%
Delaware -1.2% Arizona 1.6% Colorado 3.6%
North Carolina -0.7% Georgia 1.7% Wyoming 3.7%
DC -0.3% Virginia 1.8% Louisiana 3.7%
Oregon -0.3% Vermont 1.9% Oklahoma 4.0%
Utah -0.1% South Carolina 2.0% Alabama 4.6%
South Dakota 0.0% Nebraska 2.0% Iowa 4.9%
Ohio 0.0% New York 2.1% New Mexico 5.3%
Montana 0.1% New Hampshire 2.2% California 5.4%
Kansas 0.2% Connecticut 2.2% Minnesota 7.3%
North Dakota 0.3% West Virginia 2.4% Mississippi 7.6%
New Jersey 0.4% Rhode Island 2.4% Florida 8.0%
Maine 0.5% Arkansas 2.6% Hawaii 8.8%
Texas 0.6% Wisconsin 2.9% Alaska 10.8%

Fifteen states and the District of Columbia have energy deregulation of some sort. Deregulation allows residents and businesses to choose their energy suppliers instead of being bound to a utility.

States with the lowest residential rates in 2017

For the year, Louisiana had the lowest residential rates – 9.51 cents per kilowatt hour (kWh). Here are the 10 states with the lowest rates for 2017:

State Rate (cents/kWh) State Rate (cents/kWh)
1)      Louisiana 9.51 6)      Oklahoma 10.48
2)      Washington 9.6 7)      Kentucky 10.64
3)      Idaho 10.11 8)      Tennessee 10.65
4)      Arkansas 10.22 9)      Oregon 10.71
5)      North Dakota 10.4 10)   Nebraska 10.98

Hawaii, at 29.5 cents/kWh, had the highest average rate for 2017. The rest of the 10 highest rates came in the following states:

State Rate (cents/kWh) State Rate (cents/kWh)
1)      Hawaii 29.5 6)      Rhode Island 18.3
2)      Alaska 21.57 7)      California 18.24
3)      Connecticut 20.31 8)      New York 18.04
4)      New Hampshire 19.22 9)      Vermont 17.65
5)      Massachusetts 18.92 10)      Maine 15.96

States with the lowest commercial rates in 2017

For the year, Oklahoma had the lowest commercial rates – 7.97 cents/kWh. Here are the 10 states with the lowest rates for 2017:

State Rate (cents/kWh) State Rate (cents/kWh)
1)      Oklahoma 7.97 6)      Arkansas 8.44
2)      Nevada 7.98 7)      Washington 8.51
3)      Idaho 8.02 8)      North Carolina 8.56
4)      Virginia 8.07 9)      Utah 8.74
5)      Texas 8.31 10)      Illinois 8.87

Hawaii, at 26.82 cents/kWh, had the highest average rate for 2017. The rest of the 10 highest rates came in the following states:

State Rate (cents/kWh) State Rate (cents/kWh)
1)      Hawaii 26.82 6)      Massachusetts 14.88
2)      Alaska 19.46 7)      Vermont 14.81
3)      Connecticut 16.1 8)      New York 14.76
4)      California 15.89 9)      New Hampshire 14.75
5)      Rhode Island 15.24 10)      New Jersey 12.31

Come back later this week for ChooseEnergy.com’s analysis of December rates and how they compare with November 2017 and December 2016.