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Winter vs. Summer Electric Rates

Karen Sheviak

Electricity rates vary widely around the country. In most areas, even if the rates remain similar in winter and summer, you will pay more for electricity in the summer since people run air conditioners, which use a lot of power. In northern areas, people using electric heat will pay more in winter.

Your electricity costs depend on a variety of things, not just the season.

Where You Live

The state you live in will affect your electric rates more than whether it's winter or summer. It ranges from a low of about 8 cents per kilowatt hour in Washington to over 19 cents in New York and 28 cents in Hawaii.

Time of Use Rates

Some states, such as Wisconsin, offer optional time of use electricity rates. This means your electricity rates are more expensive between 9 a.m. and 10 p.m. (the peak hours), than between 10 p.m. and 9 a.m. (considered off-peak). Peak rates are more expensive in the summer than in the winter because of air conditioning. You can save money on one of these plans if you are able to shift some of your electricity use to off-peak hours.


You can reduce your electricity costs year round by using a programmable thermostat so you can keep your house cooler in winter and warmer in summer when you're not home or when you're sleeping. Be sure to check weather stripping seasonally and insulate your home properly to further reduce your costs, whatever the season.