(Daily Caller News Foundation) — Americans’ electricity bills outran inflation in 2022 to grow at the fastest rate since the data was first tracked in 1984, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported Wednesday.
The average monthly electricity bill for U.S. residential customers climbed from $121 per month in 2021 to $137 per month in 2022, a 13% increase in nominal dollars that was significantly higher than the economy-wide average inflation rate of 8% last year, leaving an inflation-adjusted increase of roughly 5%, according to the EIA. The increase was primarily driven by the soaring cost of electricity — which leaped by 11% nominally and 2.5% adjusted for inflation in 2022 — alongside a 2% increase in average electricity consumption per month.
The agency cited “extreme temperatures” for driving up electricity demand for use in both heating and cooling, as well as a 34% increase in fuel costs for power plants as the main drivers of this increase. Oil and natural gas shortages in the West following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine — and subsequent Western sanctions — are widely credited with driving up energy costs worldwide in 2022.
Median inflation-adjusted earnings for full-time employees, meanwhile, remained roughly steady from the fourth quarter of 2021 to 2022, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. Inflation-adjusted weekly earnings peaked at $393 in the second quarter of 2020, and have held roughly steady at $362 since the fourth quarter of 2021, a roughly 8% decline.
From January through March of 2023, the average U.S. household spent $133 per month on electricity, a 5% increase from the same three months in 2022, according to the EIA. While prices were up by 13% compared to the same time last year, households consumed roughly 7% less electricity, partially offsetting increased prices.
The agency anticipates that average household consumption of electricity this summer will be roughly similar to last year’s, with a slight increase in electricity prices, meaning that users will spend roughly 2% more per month over the next several months.