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Report: North Dakota residents spend 17% less on essential utilities than average Americans

The report factored in the cost of electricity, water, natural gas and basic internet and cable packages.

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FARGO — North Dakotans spend roughly 17% less on basic utilities than the average American household, an annual report has concluded.

Compiled by Angi, an internet services company, the report used data from various sources to determine the average monthly expenditures on essential utilities — defined as electric, water, natural gas, and basic internet and cable packages — that residents of all 50 states make.

On average, North Dakotans were found to spend $238.17 on essential utilities, the sixth lowest cost of all 50 states. Those living in Idaho, Montana, New Mexico and Nebraska spend between $220 to $238, while Utahans spend the least, with an average cost of $205.28 monthly.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, those living in Connecticut and New Hampshire, the second- and third-most expensive states, pay an average of $370 or higher, while Hawaii sits atop the list with an average expense of over $400 per month.

Americans on average spend $288.98 per month, leaving North Dakotans at 17.5% below the national average.

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Why the variation?

Basic supply and demand has an influence on the price of utilities in different states, but the degree of difference varies based on which utility is examined.

Electricity

Electricity prices tend to vary the most. According to data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration, electricity prices used in Angi’s report ranged from as low as $79 per month in Utah to over $200 in Hawaii.

The cost of electricity depends on the availability of fuel and power plants, as well as local and state regulations. Though monthly power bills in North Dakota may be higher than in neighboring states, they’re roughly $7 cheaper than the national average.

Water

Water costs have steadily risen since at least 2012, and in June was outpacing inflation, according to Dripfina, an organization made up of water experts from around the country. Based on the availability of lakes, rivers, aquifers, springs and other natural water sources — and a locale’s ability to treat the water — prices vary significantly from place to place.

While West Virginians spend over $90 each month on water, residents of Wisconsin tend to spend under $20. North Dakota’s average monthly water expenses stands in the middle ground, with an average bill of roughly $31, about 20% lower than the national average.

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Natural Gas

With 28 natural gas processing plants operating in western North Dakota, it’s no surprise that the energy commodity can be so cheap.

Despite a surge in natural gas prices in 2021, North Dakota ranks second-cheapest for natural gas, with average residential costs of just $7.50 per 1,000 cubic feet in the five-year period from 2016-2021 — more than three dollars cheaper than the national average and nearly $35 cheaper than in Hawaii.

Only Idaho had a cheaper average price of natural gas over the same time period at $7.19 per 1,000 cubic feet.

A South Dakota native, Hunter joined Forum Communications Company as a reporter for the Mitchell (S.D.) Republic in June 2021. After over a year in Mitchell, he moved to Milwaukee, where he now works as a digital reporter for Forum News Service, focusing on regional news that impacts the Dakotas, Minnesota and Wisconsin.
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