Study: Hawaiians Save Most on Utility Bills Due to Appliance Standards

Consumers in Hawaii save the most on overall household utility bills—a whopping $945 – according to a findings of a report released on February 16 by the Appliance Standards Awareness Project (ASAP) and the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE).

By comparison, the same study establishes that the average American family saved nearly $500 on utility bills in 2015 as a direct result of existing efficiency standards for appliances and lighting.

And total business utility bill savings from standards reached nearly $23 billion in 2015. Business energy bill savings equaled 8 percent of total business spending on electricity and natural gas.

The study, entitled Energy-Savings States of America: How Every State Benefits from National Appliance Standards, details average household savings for all 50 states and the nation’s capital in four categories: household utility bill savings; electricity savings; natural gas and oil savings; and water savings. The top 10 states for each are ranked.

The top 10 states for household utility bill savings from existing appliance standards, based on study results, are: Hawaii ($945), Connecticut ($648), Massachusetts ($620), Rhode Island ($610), Alaska ($608), New Hampshire ($603), New York ($584), Vermont ($555), California ($552), and New Jersey ($536).

Accounting for products sold between 1987 and 2035, and for estimated product price increases; total net present value savings from national standards for products sold through 2035 are $2.4 trillion for U.S. consumers and businesses.

Consumers in states with highest bill savings save the most, because they tend to pay the most for energy.

Other factors affecting savings, according to the findings of the report, include the types of appliances consumers have (for example, electric versus gas water heaters), how much cooling and heating they use, and household size.

States at the bottom of the overall utility bill savings list include: Washington (50), North Dakota (49), Idaho (48), Montana (47), West Virginia (46), Wyoming (45), Oregon (44), Nebraska (43), Arkansas (42) and Louisiana (41). Savings in 2015 for the bottom ten states were still significant, ranging from $360-$405.

Commenting on the ASAP/ACEEE report, Charlie Harak, senior attorney for Energy and Utilities Issues, National Consumer Law Center, said: Appliance standards save low-income households money, leaving them more to buy food and pay the rent. They disproportionately are renters, not homeowners; and move into housing where the owner purchases major energy-consuming appliances, like furnaces. Standards ensure that low-income renters aren’t saddled with inefficient appliances that are energy hogs.” 

 Tom Eckman, senior advisor and former director of Power Planning, Northwest Power and Conservation Council, said: “Appliance standards have produced a virtual trifecta of benefits across the Northwest. By significantly slowing the growth in electricity demand across the Northwest, they’ve reduced the need to build expensive new power plants, kept regional power costs lower, and produced significant consumer bill savings.”

Among the other key findings of the study: The utility bill savings from standards easily outweigh estimates of the cost to make products more efficient to meet standards. Benefits outweigh estimated costs by 5 to 1 using cost estimates made at the time standards were established.

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