City utility/service bills among Top 10 highest in state

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Information provided by doxoINSIGHTS, Juanice Gray contributed to this article

As both winter and inflation set in, Americans are bracing themselves for a rise in utility bills. But how much are consumers already paying in utilities, and how does that differ across areas of the country? doxoINSIGHTS’ latest report breaks down the amount that utilities cost for U.S. households. doxo’s U.S. Utilities Market Size and Household Spending Report analyzes the numbers, both in terms of overall market size and average cost per household at both the monthly and annual levels.

This article published in the Dec. 9, 2021, print edition

The report also contains rankings among all 50 states, 50 major metro areas, and 374 smaller cities and towns in the country, showing how average utility bills compare in different places across the country.  doxo’s research also shows the beginning of inflation in this household bill category. Utility payments across doxo’s platform were already up 4% in October 2021 as compared to the same period in 2020.

doxo calculates the monthly bills from the nine most common non-housing related bills: auto loans, auto insurance, utilities (water, gas, electric, waste), health insurance, life insurance, cable internet and phone, mobile phone and alarm and security and dental insurance. How much is the average utility bill? doxoINSIGHTS’ report on the industry reveals that the average American household spends $316 a month on utilities. This brings the average annual utility bill cost per US household to $2,955.

States located in the South and Midwest make up the list of the five most affordable states for utilities. Mississippi’s utilities are the most affordable, at $233 per month. South Dakota comes in as the second most affordable state for utility bills, at $239 per month. Indiana ($249 a month), Arkansas ($252 a month) and Tennessee ($254 a month) round out the list.

Louisiana comes in at 26th, with an average bill of $1,842 per month. That is 2.5% lower than the national average, but still represents 44.9 percent of household income. Natchitoches comes in at number six of 18 municipalities in the state. Average bills are $1,741 per month representing 74.9% of household income. It is still $148 less than the national average and the data includes the City of Natchitoches, SWEPCO, Suddenlink, Atmos Energy and others. By comparison, Alexandria at $1,619; Ruston at $1,612; Shreveport/Bossier at $1,725; and DeRidder at $1,628 all have less expensive bills than Natchitoches.

The data is even broken down into forms of payment. In Natchitoches, approximately 80% pay their bills with a debit card, about 30% use bank services and 10% use credit cards. The South dominates the list of the five most affordable major metros for utilities.

Austin, Texas, is the most affordable, with residents paying $170 per month in utilities, translating to $2,043 per year. Memphis, Tenn., comes in second with residents paying $197 in utilities per month, or $2,359 per year. Orlando, Fla., ($212 per month); Charlotte, NC,($227 per month); and San Antonio, Texas, ($233 per month)round out the list. During the COVID-19 pandemic, some people may require assistance trimming regular expenses to save money. doxoINSIGHTS’ report can be a valuable resource for consumers seeking to make decisions like this, allowing them to compare average expenses in different cities and states.

They can also use doxoINSIGHTS’ regional bill comparison database to compare average costs for over 900 towns and cities across the country.  Recent research from doxo also showed how COVID-19’s rise in remote work also led to elevated household expenses in certain key bill categories, specifically utilities.