Air conditioning or the lack thereof and the state’s high electricity bills, I believe, are the main reasons we don’t use much electricity. High prices provide a tremendous incentive for consumers to use less.
Vermonters pay some of the highest electricity bills in the country, and I’m only talking about residential customers, not business or industry. Vermont, unlike almost every other state, levies an electricity tax, which raises the cost even further. That tax isn’t even referred to as a tax. It’s listed as a “energy efficiency charge” on your account, which sounds a lot better than a tax.
Other states fund energy efficiency upgrades by including the cost to the electric company in the electricity price rather than itemizing it. Vermont’s home tax was 1.4 cents per kilowatt hour last year, equating to a 7.9% increase in our electric bills. It will rise marginally to 1.413 cents per kwh this year.
When that charge is factored in, Vermont’s average household power price is little over 19 cents per kilowatt-hour, ranking sixth in the country. Hawaii and Alaska have the highest prices in the country, which is understandable given the high expense of transporting petroleum and other goods to such remote locations. After those two states, New England has the most costly electricity in the country. Only Rhode Island and Maine have lower rates than Vermont among the New England states.
Our electricity prices are about 50% higher than the national average, and nearly twice as high as the states with the lowest prices. Those low-cost states obtain the majority of their electricity from hydropower or coal, both of which were historically inexpensive. But, for the first time in history, natural gas is now as cheap as or cheaper than coal, and it generates more power than coal.
Hydro-Quebec and other New England states provide the majority of Vermont’s electricity. If New England and Vermont had more pipelines delivering cheap natural gas into the region, our electricity costs may be reduced. Because we can’t take advantage of cheap natural gas, one of the reasons our electric prices are so expensive is that we can’t take advantage of it for all consumers, not just residential users.
Electricity costs will become increasingly more crucial in the future. Vermont’s statewide energy strategy calls for us to be fossil-fuel free by 2050. If this occurs, we will use even more electricity to heat our houses and power our electric vehicles. Our electricity use will skyrocket, and if Vermont’s electricity costs stay the same, Vermonters will be paying some of the highest electricity bills in the country by the mid-century.
What is the typical Vermont power bill?
The average electric rate in Vermont is 19.27 cents per kilowatt hour. This is 40.07 percent greater than the average rate in the United States, which is 13.76 cents. Because the state’s electricity market is regulated, clients may only have one or two options when it comes to choosing an electrical supplier. The average per capita consumption rate of electricity in the state is 8.42 megawatt hours per year. The average monthly home energy bill in the United States is $122.19, while the average in Vermont is $110.13. Vermont has the 16th best average electricity bill total in the United States. The state is the 52nd largest consumer of electricity, with a total consumption of 5,416,668 megawatt hours. When overall CO2 emissions are considered, the state ranks 51st in the US, with about 1,949,636,511.96 kg of CO2 emissions emitted from electricity use.
How can I save money on my air conditioning bill?
Despite the fact that current air conditioners utilize less energy than previous generations, they nonetheless burn a hole in your pocket when it comes to monthly electricity bills. So, if you’re worried about running the air conditioner all the time because you’ll end up with a hefty air conditioning bill at the end of the month, we’ve got you covered. Here are five easy ways to save money on your electric bill when utilizing an air conditioner.
Choose the right temperature
Never turn the air conditioner down to the lowest setting. Many people believe that adjusting the air conditioner to 16 degrees will give better cooling, but this is not the case. The optimal temperature for the human body is 24 degrees Fahrenheit, according to the Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE), and any AC will need less energy to accomplish that goal. As a result, it is preferable to adjust the AC temperature at roughly 24 degrees. This will conserve more electricity while also lowering the bill.
How much energy is required to heat a home?
An electric furnace is a sort of heating system that heats a home with electricity and often uses a fan to drive air through the ductwork. Electricity is often more expensive to heat a home than natural gas or other kinds of fuel. The cost of operating an electric furnace varies greatly based on the size of the house, the type of electric furnace utilized, the cost of energy, and the climate. Electric furnaces range in power from 10 to 50 kilowatts; we estimate that a 2,400-square-foot home heated with a modern high-efficiency electric furnace needs 18,000 watts when the furnace is turned on. Heating is required 6 to 8 months of the year in colder climates, with a furnace operating 4 hours per day during the colder months.
Why is power in Vermont so expensive?
Three-quarters of the electricity consumed in Vermont is generated outside of the state, requiring it to be transported over considerable distances. This is known as “transmission,” which is a system of high-voltage, high-speed power lines that connect generation plants to states all around New England, similar to a “electricity superhighway,” according to White.
Once electricity reaches Vermont, local utilities must pay a toll for it at one of tens of thousands of exit ramps leading to side streets, a process known as tolling “dispersion.” These side streets (actually, poles and wires) that bring power up to your property may be owned and operated by utilities.
“That’s when I take the energy, that high-voltage energy, off the interstate highway and onto the roads, lanes, and streets that take me directly to the customer’s house or business, where they’re actually consuming the power,” said Charlotte Ancel, vice president of power supply at Green Mountain Power, the state’s largest electricity supplier. GMP serves around 71% of Vermont’s power customers.
One of the reasons Vermont electricity is so expensive is that we’re at the end of the energy pipeline, relying on fuels from other areas to generate power, according to White.
“He stated, “Illinois is sitting on reams and reams of coal.” “There is a lot of oil in the upper Midwest. They have massive shale gas reserves in Ohio and western Pennsylvania. Because New England lacks those, everything must be brought in.”
That transmission is expensive. For one thing, electricity is lost during transmission, and the farther it has to travel, the more power is lost. Utilities are also required to pay ISO New England for the use of the highway.
In addition, New Englanders are responsible for the cost of the transmission system that delivers power to them.
There’s been a lot of disagreement about these enhancements, but the bottom line is that, according to data from ISO New England, which manages the transmission system, expenditures have risen dramatically in recent years. Between 2008 and last year, infrastructure prices grew by around 150 percent.
Another cost driver in Vermont, according to utility executives, industry analysts, and state regulators, is distribution the expense of constructing and maintaining the poles and wires that provide electricity to customers. Stringing power lines over mountains, through valleys, and through forests is more difficult and expensive given Vermont’s topography.
According to Christine Hallquist, CEO of the Vermont Electric Cooperative, a non-profit, member-owned utility that serves around 32,000 people in northern Vermont, once the electricity is distributed throughout the state, it will likely serve a rather low-density population.
Is power in Vermont expensive?
Electricity costs the average Vermont household roughly $95 per month, or more than $1,000 per year. Surprisingly, this state has one of the lowest monthly electricity bills in the country. Is it because Vermonters are so concerned about the environment that we insulate our homes better than individuals in other states, buy energy-efficient appliances, and just consume less electricity? Perhaps, but I believe there are deeper reasons why we use less electricity than most individuals in most states.
Maine, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Colorado, and Idaho are the other states having lower electric bills than Vermont.
With the exception of Colorado, they are all so far north that they share a border with Canada.
Summers are cool in the northern states, including Colorado, and unlike the rest of the country, there is minimal need for air conditioning to drive up summer electric rates.
Few homes in Vermont have central air conditioning, although many have window units.
Even still, compared to the rest of the country, Vermonters who do have air conditioners use them sparingly during our short and relatively chilly summers. One of the reasons our average electric bills are low is because of this.
The most major reason is that electricity in Vermont is quite expensive.
Vermont residents spent an average of 17.84 cents per kilowatt-hour in 2016, according to the US Energy Information Administration. Only seven states have greater prices, with Alaska and Hawaii being two of them. The high prices in Alaska are due to the high cost of transporting petroleum to the state and the fact that many of its population live in remote towns and villages. Hawaii is pricey since it is an island where all of the gasoline is imported. Hawaii is the only state where virtually all of its electricity is still generated by burning oil. Despite its climate and location, solar and wind power provide just a small portion of Hawaii’s electricity.
The other New England states, with the exception of Maine, as well as New York and California, have higher electricity prices than Vermont.
The energy efficiency levy, which is used to pay Efficiency Vermont, is also a tax on power in Vermont.
Efficiency Vermont spends the money, which equates to about a 7% levy on our power bills, on a variety of programs aimed at lowering our electricity consumption. Most other states do not have a program like Efficiency Vermont, although electrical companies do offer initiatives to help customers reduce their electricity consumption. Because those initiatives are supported by the utilities, the expenses are included in the energy rates that consumers pay.
When comparing Vermont’s power pricing to those in other states, it’s acceptable to add the efficiency fee effectively a tax on our bills. When that is factored into the price of electricity in Vermont (shown in the table as “Vermont with EEC”), we are ranked fourth in the US and third in New England.
Average Cost of Living in Vermont: $47,397 per year
The average cost of living in Vermont for a typical individual is roughly $47,397 per year, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA).
Vermont has a higher-than-average cost of living when compared to the rest of the country, although this is to be expected when compared to its New England neighbors, as the area ranks higher in terms of spending than the rest of the country.
Vermont was the third-most affordable New England state to live in, trailing only Rhode Island, Connecticut, and Massachusetts, as well as its western neighbor, New York, which is one of the most expensive states in the US.
Vermont was ranked 40th in MERIC’s cost of living index, owing to the Green Mountain State’s higher-than-average housing and utility costs. Only New Hampshire and Maine came in slightly lower in the New England rankings, at 38th and 37th, respectively.
What does this mean in terms of your day-to-day expenses? The BEA’s most recent data breaks down typical per capita personal consumption expenses on a yearly basis as follows:
Housing Costs in Vermont
According to the National Association of Realtors, the average home in Vermont will cost $314,562 in 2021, which is somewhat less than the $353,900 median sales price of an existing home in the United States. According to the most recent statistics from the United States Census Bureau, Vermont has a housing supply of 339,439 units.
Because of the state’s size, there are significant differences in housing values between communities. In comparison to smaller communities like Bennington or Barre, expect to spend more for desirable residences near Burlington.
Utility Costs in Vermont
It’s no surprise that true Vermonters own many flannel shirts. Vermont’s lengthy winters and muddy spring seasons contribute to the state’s higher-than-average utility expenses when compared to the rest of the country. Utility prices account for a substantial portion of the cost of living in Vermont, so prospective homebuyers should be cautious.
While monthly gas heating expenditures average $110.43, during the winter peak seasons, that figure can easily double. It’s no surprise that 13 percent of Vermont homeowners use firewood to heat their homes; it’s the state’s second most popular heating fuel!
Despite the high utility bills, environmentalists will be pleased to learn that Vermont is the nation’s leader in renewable energy generation, having generated 100% of its electricity from renewable sources in 2020. According to data supplied by the US Energy Information Administration (EIA), this comprises wind, solar, hydropower, and biomass.
However, the state has committed to obtaining at least 90% of its energy from renewable sources by 2050. So, even if the bill is a little high, you may rest assured that the energy originated from a reputable source.
Groceries & Food
According to the BEA, the average person will spend $368 per month on food and groceries, or $4,420 per year. This is actually higher than the national average for the New England region, which already has some of the highest food prices.
Vermonters pay the most for food and groceries of the six New England states. Vermont, in fact, has some of the highest food and beverage costs in the country, with Hawaii and the District of Columbia coming in second and third, respectively.
Food prices, of course, vary greatly depending on where you reside. When compared to other major New England cities, Burlington, Vermont’s largest city, was in the middle of the pack in terms of grocery costs.
Food costs are ranked by the Council for Community and Economic Research for major metropolitan regions in the United States. The rankings for the New England States are shown in the table below.
Vermonters travel quickly, and genuine Vermonters understand that the distance between towns is measured in hours, not miles. So it’s probably a good thing that transportation in Vermont isn’t prohibitively expensive. In fact, according to US News, Vermont has the 8th cheapest auto insurance in the country.
Vermont’s sparse population and spread-out municipalities make bumper-to-bumper traffic nearly unheard of. What constitutes rush-hour traffic in Vermont may be compared to a relaxing weekend cruise in major cities such as New York. The less hours spent stuck in traffic contribute significantly to lower transportation expenditures.
According to statistics from MIT’s Living Wage Calculator, here’s a breakdown of average annual transportation costs by family size.
According to the BEA’s latest personal consumption expenditures data, the average Vermonter spends $8,490 per year on healthcare. For Vermont’s huge number of inhabitants over the age of 50, this accounts for a major portion of the state’s cost of living.
When compared to the rest of the country, Vermont’s typical healthcare expenditures are on the higher end of the range, but they’re about average when compared to its New England rivals. New Hampshire and Massachusetts, two of its neighbors, have higher average healthcare costs.
The New England region has the highest healthcare costs of any region in the United States as a whole. Vermont residents who wish to save money on healthcare can use Vermont Health Connect, the state-sponsored exchange, to shop for and compare health insurance providers.
Vermont’s average monthly child care costs range from $1,216 to $1,742 per child.
The US Department of Health and Human Services considers childcare costs to be “affordable” if they account for 7% or less of a family’s income (HHS). This statistic, however, may be difficult for some families to achieve.
Vermont’s Agency for Human Services provides aid to struggling parents in need through its Child Care Cash Assistance Program, which includes subsidies and financial assistance.
The state of Vermont has a tiered income tax structure, with the top income level paying 8.75 percent. When it comes to income taxes, this is the eighth highest rate in the country.
According to the Tax Foundation’s State Individual Income Tax Rates and Brackets for 2021, Vermont has the 4th highest tax burden, with an effective tax rate of 12.3 percent. Keep in mind that “tax burden” refers to all taxes submitted to the US Census Bureau, including property, excise, estate, and income taxes, among others.
Only Connecticut, with a tax burden of 12.8 percent, outperformed its New England neighbors, while no other New England state cracked the top 10. With a 14.1 percent effective tax burden, New York, Vermont’s western border, has the highest effective tax burden in the country.
Let’s look at some of the most well-known attractions in the Green Mountain State, in addition to the everyday costs:
Vermont has something for everyone, whether you’re visiting for a day of sightseeing or hitting the slopes at one of the state’s 26 ski resorts.
When it comes to cheese and maple syrup, true Vermonters can identify the difference between home-grown Vermont Cheddar and Velveeta and Aunt Jemina. Vermont is famed for its dairy farms and farmers’ markets, and no state does farm-to-table better than it.
Vermont is also home to the world-famous Ben & Jerry’s ice cream company. If you’re in the area, stop into the Ben & Jerry’s factory in Historic Waterbury Village, or enjoy any of their 50+ ice cream varieties at one of their Vermont stores.
Finally, Vermont is a beer lover’s dream come true. Experts agree that the climate is suitable for brewing beer and cider. According to the Vermont Brewers Association, there are 64 breweries and brewpubs located around the state. Vermont, which has held the record of having the most breweries per capita in the country multiple times in recent years, is neck and neck with neighboring Maine for the accolade.
In Vermont, how are dwellings heated?
In Vermont, both furnaces and boilers are prevalent central heating methods.
Furnaces heat air (sometimes known as “forced hot air”), distribute it through ducts, and deliver it to registers throughout a structure.
Boilers heat water and transmit it (as water or steam) to radiators through pipes. These are commonly referred to as “central” heating systems. For these systems, a range of fuel options are available. They are often built to burn a single fuel source, such as propane, fuel oil, wood pellets, firewood, or natural gas, depending on the unit’s design. Some hybrid boilers and furnaces may burn more than one type of fuel.
The efficiency of your system is determined by the design and functioning of the unit, the effectiveness with which the heat is distributed, and the type of thermostat you employ.
There are steps you may take to enhance efficiency, minimize energy use, and/or save money, regardless of the system or fuel type. Regular heating system maintenance, for example, can help to guarantee that it runs as efficiently as possible for as long as feasible. Some maintenance tasks can be completed by someone with a basic understanding of heating systems, while others require the expertise of a heating system specialist. Maintenance usually entails:
Filters should be changed at least once a season (A clogged filter can make a furnace have to work harder and can cause issues with motors and blowers.)
To allow for the free movement of heat into the room, avoid blocking registers and radiators.
The longevity of these systems varies, although new designs are becoming more efficient as technology advances. If you’re thinking about changing your system, you should think about energy-efficient replacement models that can help you save money. Avoid traits that are commonly associated with inefficiency, such as:
Instead of responding to your real heating demand, a boiler that turns on and off often (short cycling)
The annual fuel utilization efficiency (AFUE) rating, which operates similarly to the “miles per gallon” badge on new cars, is one approach to compare systems. The efficiency of older furnace and boiler systems ranged from 56 percent to 70 percent, whereas newer systems can attain a rating of 98.5 percent. The ductwork of a furnace system can also be utilized to distribute cool air from a central air conditioner, which is a major distinction between a furnace and a boiler. This adaptability could have a role in your selection.