Electric bills have skyrocketed in the last five years, a sharp reversal from a quarter-century when Americans enjoyed stable power bills even as they used more electricity.
Households paid a record $1,419 on average for electricity in 2010, the fifth consecutive yearly increase above the inflation rate, a USA TODAY analysis of government data found. The jump has added about $300 a year to what households pay for electricity. That’s the largest sustained increase since a run-up in electricity prices during the 1970s.
Electricty is consuming a greater share of Americans’ after-tax income than at any time since 1996 — about $1.50 of every $100 in income at a time when income growth has stagnated, a USA TODAY analysis of Bureau of Economic Analysis data found.
Greater electricity use at home and higher prices per kilowatt hour are both driving the higher costs, in roughly equal measure: