Have you scoured the internet searching for the average electric bill in Illinois? Are you concerned with the rising cost of electricity? We should all be a little worried about the cost of our electric bill since we have record-breaking winter storms hitting the country and the summer is just around the corner. What kind of heatwave can we expect come July and August? What are you supposed to do then?
The obvious solution to this temperature problem is to crank up your air conditioner. Of course, that’ll make your electric bill skyrocket, meaning your wallet is going to suffer. Nobody wants that to happen, but what other choice do you have? When you’re battling the sun and utility companies, it can often feel like you’re out of options.
Luckily, it’s relatively simple to find out what items in your home are draining the most energy and alter the way you consume electricity. Whether you make small changes or significant changes, every bit helps. The journey to lowering your electric bill in Illinois begins by looking at your energy usage, so let’s start there.
The Average Electric Bill in Illinois
According to the EIA (Energy Information Administration), a part of the U.S. Department of Energy, the average electric bill in Illinois in 2018 was $94.98. According to more information from the EIA a few years earlier, the average residential electric bill was around $87, ranking 44th in the United States (the higher the ranking, the lower the bill). The average commercial electric bill was about $573, ranking 21st in the country.
Obviously, from a commercial side, that’s a lot of money to pay for electric bills, though it’s still less than the national average of $629. On the residential side, $87 to $94.98 is far less than the national average of $111.67 per month. This puts Illinois in a great position as a state with one of the country’s lowest average electricity rates.
Of course, based on these reports, we see that residents of Illinois have experienced higher rates every year over the last decade. Illinois isn’t alone in that predicament. No matter where you live, electricity prices are rising, indicating a growing national issue. It’s not a crisis in Illinois yet, but there’s a chance it can become one.
Electricity Prices Are on the Rise
While we must look forward to higher temperatures going into 2021, we must also anticipate rising electricity prices. According to experts, we will experience a 2.8% increase in the cost of electricity from 2020 to 2021. So, if you’re paying $100 on average, you should expect that to increase to $102.80. Obviously, that may not seem like a lot, but it’s less about what happens in one year and more about what happens in ten.
If we see a marginal increase of 2.8 percent each year for ten years, then we’ll end up with electricity costs 28% higher than they are now. That means that the $100 bill will now become $128. Now, what happens in the summer, when your typical bill is closer to $200 or $300? Well, a 28% increase would make it $256 or $384, respectively. That’s the problem. We can’t be shortsighted when we look at this. We have to think about the future.
This is an ongoing trend, and if we don’t do something to stop it, it will only worsen. The hike in prices directly correlates to our dependence on natural gas and oil. If we continue to make those our primary sources of energy, the costs will continue to rise.
Fortunately, the alternative to oil and natural gas is actually becoming cheaper. Thanks to rising interest in renewable energy, emerging technology is getting more time, money, and innovation. That means that renewable energy may soon be cheaper than the natural gas alternative.
Until then, though, you have to figure out a way to cut costs. Even though Illinois has comparatively low rates to other states, they are still too high. Luckily for you, we’ve done the research and thought of a few great tips and tricks to lower your energy usage.
Saving Money on Your Electric Bill in Illinois
Before you do anything, you need to take inventory of how much electricity you’re using, what items in your home are using the most, and decide where you’d like to focus your attention. Understanding your energy usage is absolutely crucial, and it’s actually simple to do. Just take a look at your utility bill. It should contain an itemized list of every item that uses electricity and how much energy it uses. If this isn’t on your bill, you can contact your electricity provider to get this information.
10 Quick Tips to Save Money on Electricity in Illinois
There isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to lowering your electric bill in Illinois. There’s a lot you can try, though, to reduce that monthly burden.
- Check the temperature settings on your refrigerator. It’s common for these settings to be set too low, which is a drain on electricity.
- Change the filter for your air conditioner. A dirty filter can jack up the energy costs of an HVAC system.
- Increase the temperature in the summer and lower the temperature in the winter. Test your limits. You shouldn’t be miserable, but maybe there’s a more energy-efficient internal temperature you can maintain.
- Try to regulate your laundry days. Instead of running a bunch of small loads, try larger loads to decrease how often you’re using your washer and dryer.
- Fix your home with energy-efficient light bulbs.
- Before running your dishwasher, wait until it’s full.
- Make sure your home is properly insulated. Good insulation will keep your home cooler in the summer and hotter in the winter, meaning your air conditioner will have less work to do.
- Turn off lights in rooms you aren’t currently occupying. Turn off appliances that you aren’t using. Those little things zap bits of energy every second they’re on, and every bit counts.
- Convert your typical home into a smart home, which is known to save money on electricity. They usually include things like smart thermostats and smart lightbulbs, which are huge energy-savers.
- Go solar. Making the switch to solar energy can save you a ton of money on your electric bill. In fact, if you get an extensive enough solar panel system, you can eliminate your electric bill altogether.
There are other ways to lower your Illinois electric bill, but these are great places to start. When you’re going through your energy wasters, you should focus on the big energy-users first. That way, you see the most significant impact right away.
Electric Companies in Illinois
Electricity works differently depending on where you live, and it’s not just about the different companies in every state but how the energy market actually works. It really depends on whether or not a state’s energy market is regulated or deregulated.
In a regulated energy market, there are a select few companies that are allowed to offer electricity. Meaning that based on where you live, your electricity company is already predetermined. Your utility company is responsible for generating electricity, keeping up with grid maintenance, delivering energy, and billing their customers.
Most states within the U.S. are regulated. This type of energy market lowers the ability for a competitive market but provides long-term stabilization for the cost of electricity. A state commission sets the energy rates, and the companies must follow their guidelines.
In a deregulated market, those prices are not determined by a commission. Instead, any private company can buy up energy and provide utility services to customers. In this type of energy market, pricing and services are incredibly competitive. There are no geographical limits to where a company can provide its services, and companies are forced to be accountable because they aren’t the only option.
This ultimately results in better prices and plentiful options. The only potential downfall to this system is that these companies aren’t regulated. So, they can technically charge whatever they want, and the government can’t do anything about it.
Is Illinois Regulated or Deregulated?
Illinois has been deregulated since 1997, when the state passed the Illinois Electric Service Customer Choice & Rate Relief Law, allowing private companies to purchase energy. The state’s energy market is run by two companies: Commonwealth Edison Co. (ComEd) and Ameren Illinois Utilities.
Since the Illinois electricity market is deregulated, many companies offer electricity services in Illinois, including AEP Energy, Constellation Energy Services, Direct Energy, Just Energy, Oasis Energy, Think Energy, and many more. As you can see from the average price of an electric bill in Illinois, deregulation has been incredibly beneficial, and Illinois residents receive extremely competitive prices compared to most other states.
Solar Energy is a Cost-Effective Alternative
One of the quick tips we covered above was about solar energy. If you’re interested in getting solar panels installed on your home in Illinois, there are a few things you should know. For instance, how much electricity can rooftop solar panels generate in Illinois? It’s also essential to understand how much money you can save by switching to solar, so let’s do the math.
If you are buying a 5-kilowatt solar power system, then you’re probably paying around $15,000. By utilizing the Federal Tax Credit, you can save approximately 26% on that cost, reducing that price by $3,900. If your system fully covers your energy consumption, then you’ll be paying nothing on your electric bill. That means that over the 30 year lifetime of your panel system, you will only pay about $11,100.
Comparatively, let’s say you don’t get solar. If your average electricity bill is $94 (we won’t even account for inevitable inflation), then you’re paying $1,128 a year on electricity. In thirty years, that will end up being $33,840. That’s $22,740 more expensive than going with solar. So, choosing solar is not only better for the environment. It’s also better for your wallet.
No matter what you decide, it’s wise to follow the tips we provided if you want to lower your Illinois electric bill. Even with the low prices, it’s important to remember that the cost of electricity is only going to increase. In a deregulated market, that can be a dangerous thing.
If you don’t do something about it now, then you’re going to be paying a lot more out of pocket than you’d like, and then what are you supposed to do? Think about your future. Do an audit of your energy usage, follow our tips and tricks, and if you’re smart, you’ll invest in solar energy now before the energy market gets out of hand.