In the United States, residents rely mainly on natural gas, oil or electricity to deliver energy to their homes. The Energy Information Administration (EIA) reports that Americans are increasing their use of electricity while at home. In fact, the sale of electricity to households exceeds the amount sold to commercial and industrial sectors.
Typical Home Electricity Usage
The EIA reports that in 2007, the average American home used 936 kilowatt-hours of electricity each month. East North Central and East South Central states consumed the largest amounts of electricity at well above 250,000 kilowatt-hours a month. Some of these states like Virginia, South Carolina and Kentucky also enjoyed some of the lowest average kilowatt-hour retail prices from local utilities companies.
How Electricity is Consumed
Appliances like stoves, toasters and computers account for 64.7 per cent of the electricity used in homes. Refrigerators used 14 per cent of all electricity, which is more than any other appliance. Lights were second in total electricity consumed; they use 9 per cent of all electricity in homes.
In 2007, 617 power, industrial, commercial and institutional plants burnt coal to create electricity. Of these facilities, 476 of them are power plants. The EIA reports that in 2008, nuclear power plants created an average of 12.4 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity. Sixty-five of the plants that are equipped with operating nuclear reactors created nearly 20 per cent of all electricity consumed in the United States.
Wise usage of electricity and other energy forms can help to balance usage and supply requirements. As the population continues to grow, government agencies continue to educate citizens about the importance of repairing sink and pipe leaks, turning off lights when they are not in use and fully closing the refrigerator door to lower demands on power plants and other commercial and industrial energy generators. Electricity can also be generated using renewable solar and wind energy. In 2007, only 9 per cent of electricity in America was generated using renewable energy. Over time, these percentages might increase.
Environmental protection efforts continue to focus on the amount of electricity and other energy forms that are consumed by residents in the United States and around the world. Rising costs of electricity by local utility agencies might also help to lower consumption levels. For example, in 1995, the average retail price of electricity per kilowatt-hour to an American home was 8.4 cents. As of March 2009, the average cost was 11.58 cents for each home.