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Compare Business Energy Rates from 2016 to 2017

Half of 2017 has now passed, which means we should be able to highlight trends from the first half of the year and compare them with last year to project where energy rates might be for the remainder of 2017.

These comparisons can help businesses better anticipate what the rates could look like for the remainder of the year and budget accordingly.

Energy Trends

At the moment, the 2017 average rates for electricity by state are only available for the months of January to April. That being said, there is still a lot of information we can gather about the energy rates from 2017.

For starters, some states have seen a significant jump between the 2017 winter months leading into April 2017. These jumps occur for areas like Arizona, D.C., and Wisconsin. Meanwhile, other states like Delaware and Illinois saw decreases in electricity rates. The most common reasons for the rate of electricity to raise or lower is due to the weather. If the weather is cooler leading in to the spring months, commercial consumers use less energy. If the weather is warmer, then businesses need to increase the electricity they consume.

Looking ahead, experts believe that the weather for summer 2017 is expected to be 9% lower compared to 2016. This means that the average energy consumer will use an estimate 5% less electricity than they did last year. According to the EIA, the estimated impact this will have on commercial consumers for the year is limited, or unchanged (compared to 2016). The reason for this is because “the effect of lower electricity consumption from milder weather offsets increased sales resulting from economic growth.”

Commercial Energy Rates for 2017

STATE JAN FEB MAR APR MAY JUN JUL AUG SEP OCT NOV DEC Average
Alabama  11.5  11.73  11.73  11.44  11.6
Alaska  18.33  18.52  18.97  20.35  19.04
Arizona  9.66  9.71  9.73  10.23  9.83
Arkansas  8.01  8.14  8.09  8.5  8.18
California  13.99  14.21  14.31  13.94  14.03
Colorado  9.17  9.3  9.38  9.64  9.37
Connecticut  15.60  15.76  15.85  15.81  15.75
Delaware  9.78  10.16  10.42  9.95  10.07
DC  11.76  11.88  12.02  11.93  11.89
Florida  9.48  9.67  9.66  9.55  9.59
Georgia  9.80  9.91  10.01  10.03  9.93
Hawaii 26.35  26.47  26.45  26.46  26.43
Idaho  7.43  7.52  7.59  7.99  7.63
Illinois  8.3  8.37  8.80  9.07  8.63
Indiana  10.10  10.23  10.24  10.41  10.24
Iowa  9.67  8.68  8.62  8.96  8.89
Kansas  9.74  9.99  10.09  10.53 10.08
Kentucky  9.48  9.61  9.59  9.76  9.61
Louisiana  7.64  8.41  8.64  8.87  8.39
Maine  12.37  12.48  12.48  12.18  12.37
Maryland  11.17  11.23  11.14  11.07  11.15
Massachusetts  15.29  15.35  15.28  15.02  15.23
Michigan  10.84  11.03  11.05  10.81  10.93
Minnesota  9.57  10.26  10.10  10.59  10.13
Mississippi  10.12  10.29  10.35  10.47  10.3
Missouri  8.1  8.23  8.29  8.55  8.29
Montana  9.98  9.92  9.96  10.22  10.02
Nebraska  8.40  8.46  8.59  8.72  8.54
Nevada  7.77  7.86  7.85  8.02  7.87
New Hampshire  14.32  14.58  14.62  14.48  14.5
New Jersey  11.96  12  12.03  12.24  12.05
New Mexico  9.39  9.75  9.83  9.97 9.73
New York  13.87  13.65  13.82  13.78  13.78
North Carolina  8.41  8.54  8.54  8.2  8.42
North Dakota  8.76  8.86  8.86  9.12  8.9
Ohio  9.67  9.82  9.91  10.24  9.91
Oklahoma  7.82  7.88  7.74  8.04  7.87
Oregon  8.72  8.73  8.82  8.89  8.79
Pennsylvania  9  9.14  9.1  9.13  9.09
Rhode Island  15.58  15.8  15.57  15.37  15.58
South Carolina  10.14  10.42  10.35  10.48  10.34
South Dakota  8.94  9.04  9.18  9.64  9.2
Tennessee  10.42  10.38  10.35  10.27  10.35
Texas  7.96  8.22  8.28  8.42  8.22
Utah  8.07  8.2  8.3  8.46  8.25
Vermont  14.34  14.43  14.4  14.72  14.47
Virginia  8.02  7.72  7.73  7.86  7.83
Washington  8.37  8.39  8.44  8.37  8.39
West Virginia  9.57  9.71  9.73  9.94  9.73
Wisconsin  10.73  10.88  10.9  10.85  10.84
Wyoming  9.19  9.39  9.45  9.94  9.49

Commercial Energy Rates for 2016

The table below contains all of the commercial energy rates, by state, for 2016.

Most states saw energy rates in 2016 significantly increase above average, especially during the summer months. The reason for this is because the summer months last year saw record heat waves, and soaring temperatures. You can see examples of this especially for states like California, Indiana, Tennessee, and Wisconsin.

STATE JAN FEB MAR APR MAY JUN JUL AUG SEP OCT NOV DEC Average
Alabama 10.9 10.95 10.91 11.04 11.02 11.16 11.11 11.03 11.04 11.49 11.08 11.12 11.07
Alaska 17.6 17.64 17.66 18.35 18.39 18.63 18.61 18.7 18.29 18.31 18.2 18.19 18.21
Arizona 9.59 9.87 9.75 10.08 11.07 11.2 11.24 11.1 11.02 10.63 10.55 10.49 10.54
Arkansas 7.85 7.97 7.96 7.99 8.2 8.47 8.24 8.28 8.33 8.09 8.14 8.13 8.13
California 13.73 13.81 13.83 13.76 14.58 16.06 16.94 17.01 16.8 15.86 15.26 15.15 15.23
Colorado 8.44 8.77 8.99 9.48 9.55 10.25 10.01 10.2 10.4 9.99 9.69 9.66 9.61
Connecticut 15.34 16.14 16.11 15.72 15.86 16.01 15.53 15.36 15.61 15.93 15.81 15.72 15.76
Delaware 10.08 10.66 10.51 10.15 10.63 9.99 9.44 9.87 9.65 10.83 10.15 10.12 10.17
DC 11.64 12.43 11.58 11.88 11.66 11.58 11.3 11.47 11.47 12.05 11.72 11.73 11.7
Florida 9.58 9.64 9.2 9 8.91 8.92 8.87 9.05 9.06 9.14 9.12 9.11 9.13
Georgia 9.65 9.47 9.32 9.49 9.64 9.93 10 9.7 9.67 9.6 9.67 9.63 9.64
Hawaii 24.74 23.68 23.99 23.31 23.59 24.69 24.8 25.01 25.25 24.90 24.54 24.64 24.42
Idaho 7.44 7.59 7.66 7.69 7.75 8.3 8.12 8.02 7.7 7.84 7.83 7.8 7.81
Illinois 8.38 8.48 8.65 8.67 9.02 5.72 8.98 8.88 8.86 8.89 8.76 8.75 8.5
Indiana 9.23 9.41 9.59 9.75 9.57 9.56 9.55 8.74 9.94 10.05 9.71 9.75 9.57
Iowa 8.21 8.56 8.45 8.67 9.44 10.68 10.97 11.24 9.9 8.76 9.47 9.35 9.47
Kansas 9.93 10.25 10.37 10.28 10.44 10.58 10.42 10.41 10.14 10.33 10.28 10.24 10.3
Kentucky 9.09 9.31 9.39 9.45 9.4 9.47 9.29 9.21 9.41 9.53 9.37 9.37 9.35
Louisiana 8.38 8.42 8.9 8.6 8.43 8.11 8.14 8.51 8.57 8.45 8.45 8.49 8.45
Maine 12.2 12.32 12.26 11.39 12.26 11.64 11.85 12.33 12.07 12.44 12.16 12.16 12.09
Maryland 10.94 10.96 10.96 11.01 11.16 11.05 10.74 10.75 10.85 11.21 10.96 10.98 10.96
Massachusetts 15.4 15.99 15.56 15.56 14.85 15.33 15.74 15.7 16.12 15.42 15.53 15.48 15.55
Michigan 10.22 10.59 10.39 10.42 10.71 10.66 10.67 10.74 10.84 10.89 10.65 10.68 10.62
Minnesota 9.5 9.51 9.46 9.78 9.95 9.87 10.1 10.16 10.82 9.91 9.94 9.88 9.9
Mississippi 10.05 9.82 9.79 9.38 9.31 9.52 9.25 9.3 9.32 9.82 9.57 9.61 9.56
Missouri 7.83 8.13 8.13 8.22 9.35 10.66 10.38 10.52 9.18 8.37 9.12 9.07 9.08
Montana 9.51 9.87 10.24 10.27 10.44 10.5 10.32 10.16 10.34 10.31 10.19 10.18 10.19
Nebraska 8.48 8.56 8.63 8.66 8.79 9.56 9.56 9.53 9.44 8.6 8.92 8.88 8.96
Nevada 8.15 8.67 8.3 8.04 8.05 7.92 7.71 7.98 8.12 7.98 8.04 8 8.08
New Hampshire 14.58 14.78 14.57 14.49 14.43 14.03 13.99 14.3 14.41 14.57 14.43 14.44 14.41
New Jersey 11.87 11.84 12.07 12.02 12.42 13.4 13.11 13.19 12.9 11.85 12.47 12.42 12.46
New Mexico 9.54 9.37 9.36 8.99 9.25 10.12 10.45 10.64 10.57 10.01 9.85 9.85 9.83
New York 13.13 13.35 13.58 13.79 13.59 15.12 15.69 15.57 15.79 14.87 14.53 14.47 14.45
North Carolina 8.58 8.7 8.52 8.49 8.56 8.63 8.98 8.88 8.75 8.81 8.67 8.65 8.68
North Dakota 8.44 8.96 8.92 9.31 9.13 9.3 9.36 9.57 9.85 9.28 9.18 9.14 9.2
Ohio 9.59 9.84 9.84 9.93 10.01 9.83 9.63 9.78 10 10.12 9.87 9.87 9.85
Oklahoma 6.84 6.96 6.72 6.85 7.21 7.8 8.01 8.16 8.29 7.93 7.48 7.47 7.47
Oregon 8.67 8.88 8.87 8.87 8.92 8.79 8.83 8.87 8.91 9.01 8.86 8.87 8.86
Pennsylvania 9.43 9.58 9.45 9.52 9.34 9.12 9.04 9.08 9.08 9.22 9.27 9.25 9.28
Rhode Island 15.76 16.08 15.56 15.13 14.37 14.47 14.19 14.63 14.7 14.4 14.87 14.77 14.91
South Carolina 9.89 10.09 9.9 9.78 9.85 10.58 10.46 10.36 10.32 9.78 10.13 10.14 10.10
South Dakota 8.75 8.9 9.22 9.33 9.55 9.7 9.92 9.57 10.01 9.62 9.48 9.47 9.46
Tennessee 9.78 9.77 9.92 9.64 9.56 10.1 10.24 10.26 10.35 10.12 9.99 10.03 9.98
Texas 7.6 7.62 7.55 7.37 7.73 7.8 7.65 7.65 7.73 7.77 7.72 7.71 7.65
Utah 8.19 8.29 8.25 8.49 9.32 9.78 9.13 9.18 9.55 8.94 8.91 8.84 8.9
Vermont 14.21 14.3 14.39 14.49 14.82 14.58 14.6 13.97 14.66 14.81 14.51 14.49 14.48
Virginia 8.19 8.15 8.09 8.16 8.19 8.29 7.86 7.85 7.81 7.63 8 7.97 8.01
Washington 8.29 8.53 8.48 8.3 8.22 8.34 8.34 8.27 8.34 8.54 8.37 8.37 8.36
West Virginia 9.06 9.47 9.55 9.49 9.35 9.2 9.06 9.2 9.3 9.61 9.35 9.34 9.33
Wisconsin 10.71 10.81 10.81 10.86 11.08 11.48 11.35 11.08 10.9 10.81 10.98 10.95 10.98
Wyoming 9.12 9.14 9.39 9.42 9.77 9.76 9.49 9.45 9.72 9.41 9.47 9.44 9.46

2016 vs. 2017 Energy Rates

There is a lot businesses can learn about electricity by comparing 2016 electricity rates to 2017 electricity rates. First of all, despite the lower rates at the beginning of both 2016 and 2017, you will notice that the rates for January 2016 are lower than 2017 for the majority of the states. According to the EIA’s electricity short-term outlook for 2017, the average commercial electricity rate (for all states) was, 10.37 in 2016 and 10.48 in 2017.

This average rate is expected to rise again in 2018 to reach 10.62.

A closer look at other retail prices for residential and industrial tell us that rising electricity rates will occur across the board and into 2018. So, why is the cost of electricity raising instead of getting lower, despite the fact that 2017 is expected to have cooler temperatures?

Well, the answer lies in the rising cost of the fuels required in power generation. More and more companies are switching from coal to natural gas, which was a much cheaper option in 2016 (at 2.88 dollars per million Btu). However, the cost has nearly doubled in 2017 (at 3.59 dollars per million Btu) and is estimated to rise again in 2018 (to 3.94 dollars per million Btu).

Coal on the other hand has remained low in terms of cost, rising to only 2.15 (dollars per million Btu) in 2017, from 2.11 (dollars per million Btu) in 2016. Coal is only estimated to reach 2.21 (dollars per million Btu) in 2018.

Therefore, if more and more power generators are using natural gas to generate electricity across the United States, the cost of that electricity is going to go up. The good news is that retail rates that trickle down to commercial consumers will continue to be lower compared to residential retail prices.

Worst and Best Commercial Energy Rates

For both 2016 and 2017, most of the states that are deregulated offer lower rates compared to states that remain regulated. For example, so far in 2017, Illinois, Ohio, and Texas have some of the lowest rates compared to states like, California, Hawaii, and Vermont.

However, the state with the lowest commercial electricity rate average in 2017 (so far) is Washington at 7.4. In 2016, the state with the lowest average commercial electricity rate was Oklahoma at: 7.47.

Probably no surprise, Alaska and Hawaii consistently take the lead in regards to the states that have the most expensive commercial electricity rates for both 2016 and 2017. The state in the continental US with the highest average commercial electricity rate is Connecticut in both 2016 and 2017.