According to the Energy Information Administration (EIA), in 2021 average residential electricity prices rose by 4.3 percent from 2020 to 13.72 cents per kilowatt hour (kWh). This is the highest rate at which per hour electricity prices have increased since 2008. (Related: Now we are being warned that shortages of diesel fuel and electricity are coming in the months ahead.)
The latest data show that, for the first three months of the year, electricity rates increased by 8.1 percent, 3.6 percent and 8.8 percent, respectively. Data from these three months alone suggest that year-over-year electricity prices will break last year's record.
Trends from previous years indicate that electricity prices are at their highest during the summer months and at their lowest in January. But in January, the average residential electricity price was very close to electricity prices during the summer months of 2021. This indicates the likelihood of electric bills increasing even further during the next few months.
"We forecast the U.S. residential electricity price will average 14.4 cents/kWh between June and August 2022, up 3.9 percent from summer 2021," wrote the EIA in its May report.
Under normal precipitation conditions, 15 percent of California's electricity comes from hydropower. The state's extended drought is drying up reservoirs and is projected to slash hydropower output in half to just eight percent of the state's electricity generation.
Earlier last month, energy officials in California have already warned that the state's electric grid lacks sufficient capacity to keep the lights on for the summer and beyond if the state is suddenly beset by other natural disasters that could affect electricity generation, such as heat waves and wildfires.
This dip in electricity generation is expected to raise wholesale electricity prices in California and for most of its neighbors on the West Coast by roughly five percent. California already has some of the highest monthly electric costs in the country.
In Pennsylvania, data from the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission noted that all utility companies in the state are increasing their rates starting June 1. The increases are anywhere between 16.1 percent for Met-Ed up to 44.6 percent for West Penn Power.
"We'd have to compromise on something. Window fans or something," said Leanna Prokay of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, who spoke with WNEP.
"It's sad because if you don't have the money to pay your electric it's going to be a really, really hard summer," said Kim H., also of Lancaster County who also spoke to WNEP. She noted that she won't be affected by the price hike because she pays a fixed rate, but she feels for many families in the state who don't.
Even Texas, which has a deregulated utility industry that has given state residents significantly smaller electric bills, is being forced to increase rates as the summer kicks in.
In June 2021, the average residential electricity price was 10.5 cents per kWh. This month, the average residential rate listed on the state's Power to Choose website is 18.48 cents per kWh. This is a more than 70 percent increase year-over-year. Much of the increase is being blamed on rising oil and natural gas prices.
This means that a family that uses 1,000 kWh of electricity a month will have to shell out an extra $80 just to cover their electric bill. Over a full year, this adds up to nearly $1,000 extra from the family's budget.
"We've never seen prices this high," said Tim Morstad, associate state director for AARP Texas. "There's going to be some real sticker shock here."
Learn more about electricity supply and prices in the United States at Electricity.news.
Watch this episode of "The Prophecy Club" as host Stan Johnson goes into detail about how America's energy grid is being systematically dismantled.