How to Save Money on Utility Costs: Learn from These Energy-Efficient Cities

But in reality, your payments for utility expenses can fluctuate depending on where you live. Location and climate can have a large impact on how difficult (or easy) it is to keep your home comfortable, and as a result, they impact the bills you pay.

To help, here’s a list of the five cities with the most affordable utility rates and the reasons why these cities are cheaper so you mimic some of their behaviors to reduce your own utility costs.

Top five cities with the lowest electricity bills

power meters

For a more detailed guide on the top 10 cities with the lowest utility rates, check out our previous research on the subject. In this article, we’re not here just to present the facts — we want to take a look at some of the top cities and what they have in common.

Here are the top five cities we outlined in our post:

  1. Edmond, OK
  2. Lake Charles, LA
  3. LaGrange-Troup County, GA
  4. Wenatchee, WA
  5. Westminster, CO

Why do these cities have cheaper utility costs than others?

The cities we listed are pretty spread out, yet they have a few things in common that attribute to efficient energy consumption. But why do some areas in the country consume more energy than others?

The logical answer might be population. But the population is not the only factor that comes into play. To give you an idea, Texas has consistently topped the list of states that consume the most energy since the 1960s. Texas has consistently been ranked above California, even though California outnumbers Texas by roughly 10 million people.

Illustration of energy use by state

Source: TexasMonthly

In the cities we listed above, climate certainly has an impact on utility costs. Edmond doesn’t experience many dramatic climate changes during the year, so there’s less need for high levels or air conditioning and heating.

Lake Charles and LaGrange residents probably use the AC more than people who live in other cities on this list, but they don’t have to worry about heating their homes as much. However, the other cities on the list aren’t in temperate climates. What makes them different?

How residents use their energy

A large part of utility costs comes simply from how much energy people use. For example, in Colorado, the average customer only uses 694 kWh per month. In Washington, the average monthly user stays below 966 kWh. Compare these usage rates to information from states like Alabama and South Carolina, where the average customer uses more than 1,100 kWh per month.

While there’s no definite answer behind these trends, a general movement in the U.S. is that environmental awareness has been on the rise over the past few decades. As we learn more and more about how energy consumption impacts the planet, there’s been a good push to change the way people use energy.

A lot of the cities we listed above are in states that have done a lot to educate/encourage residents about energy conservation, as well as pushed for efficiency legislation.

  • Oklahoma – In 2008, the Oklahoma Corporation Commission initiated the Demand Programs Collaboration, which worked to examine/resolve issues related to funding and provision of customer energy efficiency programs
  • Louisiana – In 2014, three of the top power companies started offering quick-start energy efficiency programs for both residential and business customers
  • Georgia – Since the 1990s, the state has required energy companies to submit IRPs every three years to consider the impact of energy efficiency improvement against projected demand
  • Washington – Customers across Washington are exposed to numerous energy efficiency programs. The public utility districts, municipal, investor-owned and rural cooperatives all provide their own initiatives for consumers.
  • Colorado – Since 2007, funding for energy efficiency has grown substantially as the state adopted EERS (Energy Efficiency Resource Standard)

Some companies work to provide energy efficiency upgrades to homes and businesses in certain counties. Some are even offering rebates to residents and businesses that meet target consumption levels!

What can you do to offset your own utility costs?

setting eco mode on washer

To follow in the footsteps of the cities we just talked about, you’ll need to give your utility usage an examination. Here are some steps you can take to offset your costs and make your home more affordable.

1. Invest in more energy-efficient appliances

Did you know that roughly 10 to 33 percent of your monthly energy costs can come from “phantom energy waste”? This refers to the power your appliances are wasting while turned off but still plugged in.

Any electronic device can consume some energy while not in use. That’s why it’s important to unplug appliances when they’re not being used.

One extremely helpful appliance is a smart thermostat. These essentially work to learn about your preferences, energy consumption, and how to adjust to save you money. If you haven’t already, look into an air conditioning guide to get a clearer idea of how smart thermostats can make your home more energy-efficient.

2. Keep your air filters clean and your vents open

When your system’s filters aren’t clean, dust can make its way into your ventilation and HVAC system, leading to difficulty heating and cooling your home. You’ll waste unnecessary energy trying to regulate the temperature of your apartment. Additionally, you’ll breathe in dirt that can contain bacteria, mold and fungi.

Take a look at a furnace guide for more tips and schedule regular HVAC maintenance to make sure that your system stays both clean and efficient.

3. Seal any cracks or leaks in your apartment

It’s vital that you examine your home for leaks and cracks where your heated/cooled air could escape. The better insulated your home is, the less energy you’ll waste and the easier it will be for your HVAC system to maintain a steady temperature.

Being energy-efficient is easier than you think

Don’t assume that you’re bound to the utility cost averages of your specific city or state. There are always things you can do to mimic the more energy-efficient, affordable cities. Take matters into your own hands to make your area as low-cost and eco-friendly as possible. Mother nature (and your wallet) will certainly thank you in the future.

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Amy McConaghyAmy McConaghy is Reliance Home Comfort's Digital Marketing Specialist, managing the editorial, video and visual content creation for all digital platforms. Amy's writing is focused on bringing home improvement, energy and money-saving tips to the homeowners and answering questions about all their home comfort needs.

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