Dec 28
Electricity Rates

What is the average cost of electricity per month in California in 2024?

Electricity Rates

California’s energy scene combines innovation, green thinking, and changing policies. As the most populous state in the U.S., it sets the stage for the nation’s energy future. This dive into the average cost of electricity per month in California uncovers the many factors influencing billing and impacting what consumers pay. 

The state’s energy system is intricate, from tiered pricing to renewable energy initiatives. We’ll look at how homes and businesses use electricity, plus the rules guiding these dynamics. 

This article explores the challenges and opportunities in California’s electric billing, giving a snapshot of how this state shapes energy practices and costs. 

What is The Electricity Cost In California?

As of January 2024, electricity in California costs around 30.44 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh) on average. This rate is the typical charge across the state but varies based on location, provider, and usage patterns.

Electricity costs are dynamic, so it’s crucial to consider your specific circumstances. Different regions may have slightly different rates, and utility providers can have varied pricing structures. Check your utility bill or contact your electricity provider for precise information.

Understanding these details matters because they directly impact your monthly electric bill. With California’s diverse energy landscape and ongoing changes in regulations and pricing models, staying informed ensures that residents can make decisions based on the most accurate information regarding their energy usage and expenses.

Average Monthly Electric Bills in California 

As of January 2024, Californians face an average monthly electric bill of $190-$210. An increase of 20% year over year.  

The average residential electricity rate in CA as of 2024 is around 30 -32 cents per kWh. The average monthly electricity usage for residential customers is about 756 kWh. 

Given current rates and usage, the estimated average monthly electric bill for residential customers in CA is around $206 as of January 2024. 

Actual bills vary significantly based on location, utility provider, household size/usage, and energy efficiency practices. 

Over the past 20 years, average electricity rates in CA have increased 80-90% when looking at statewide averages, driven by factors like renewable energy goals. 

Resources are available to help Californians estimate their personalized bill amount based on specific location and usage.

Monitoring usage and implementing energy efficiency can help manage costs. In summary, while costs are rising, there are still ways for Californians to estimate, manage, and potentially lower their electricity bills through informed usage and efficiency improvements.

How Much has electricity Increased in CA?

According to data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration, electricity costs in California have increased significantly since 1990:

CA Electricity Rates

  • In 1990, the average retail price of electricity in California for all sectors was 9.10 cents per kilowatt-hour.
  • By 2000, the average price had increased to 13.11 cents per kWh, a 44% increase from 1990.
  • 2010 the average electricity price was 15.15 cents per kWh, representing a 66% increase from 1990 levels.
  • The average retail electricity rate reached 20.78 cents per kWh by 2020, a 128% jump from 1990.
  • In 2024, the average retail price of electricity in California now stands at approximately 30 cents per kilowatt-hour.

This represents a 230% increase compared to the 1990 average retail rate of 9.10 cents per kWh.

Electricity costs have risen by over 6 cents per kWh just since 2020, as prices climbed from 20.78 cents per kWh to today’s average of 30 cents per kWh.

This rapid surge in electricity bills over the last few years highlights the challenges many Californian households now face in managing energy costs.

Key drivers of these substantial cost increases include:

  • Investment in grid modernization
  • Rising natural gas prices
  • Inflationary pressures
  • Wildfire mitigation and insurance expenses
  • Decommissioning of low-cost nuclear and coal generators

In summary, Californians have experienced steady and sizeable growth in retail electricity costs since 1990, with current rates more than 2.5 times 1990 levels on an inflation-adjusted basis. This highlights the economic benefits solar can provide households through long-term utility savings.

Why is my electric bill so high in California?

Understanding why electric bills vary is essential for Californians looking to manage their energy costs effectively.

Tiered Pricing Structures

California’s tiered pricing structures are a significant factor influencing electric bills. The state employs a tiered system where the cost per kilowatt-hour increases as usage exceeds predefined thresholds. This means that as households consume more electricity, they move into higher-priced tiers, impacting the overall cost of their electric bills.

Time-of-Use Rates

Time-of-use (TOU) rates play a crucial role in determining electric bills. With varying rates based on the time of day, consumers can optimize costs by adjusting their energy usage to periods when rates are lower. Understanding and adapting to TOU rates is essential for managing and reducing electric bills.

Environmental Regulations

Stringent environmental regulations in California influence electric bills by shaping the energy mix. As the state emphasizes cleaner and more sustainable energy sources, compliance with these regulations may increase costs, affecting the overall pricing structure.

Grid Modernization Initiatives

Investments in grid modernization initiatives impact electric bills. Upgrading and modernizing the electrical grid to accommodate new technologies and enhance reliability contribute to the overall cost of electricity, influencing what consumers pay.

Seasonal Variations and Climate Influence

Electric bills are subject to seasonal variations and climate influence in California. Increased demand for heating or cooling throughout extreme temperatures can lead to higher electricity usage and subsequently impact bills. Understanding these seasonal patterns is essential for consumers to anticipate and manage costs effectively.

A combination of tiered pricing structures, time-of-use rates, renewable energy initiatives, environmental regulations, grid modernization efforts, and seasonal variations influences electric bills in California. Awareness of these factors empowers consumers to make informed decisions and implement strategies to control and reduce their electric bills.

How Solar Helps in Reducing Electric Bills

Using solar power is a surefire way to lower electric bills. Solar panels change sunlight into electricity, giving a clean, eco-friendly energy choice. Here’s how solar electricity helps cut down on electric bills:

inflation reducation act

Utilizing Solar Power for Clean Energy

Generate clean, sustainable energy by capturing sunlight with solar panels. This direct conversion reduces reliance on traditional, often costlier, power sources. Harnessing the sun’s power translates to environmentally friendly electricity production, contributing to a greener, more sustainable future.

Lowering Dependency on the Grid

Solar panels empower homeowners to generate electricity, decreasing dependence on the power grid. This is especially beneficial during daylight hours when solar production peaks, allowing for reduced reliance on conventional energy sources and subsequently lowering monthly bills.

Taking Advantage of Net Metering Benefits

Net metering enables solar users to earn credits on electric bills. Users offset costs and receive financial incentives by feeding excess energy into the grid. This system contributes to individual savings and supports a more efficient and balanced energy grid.

Long-Term Financial Benefits of Solar Investments

While the starting investment in solar panels may seem significant, the long-term financial benefits outweigh the upfront costs. Solar installations often pay for themselves over time through reduced monthly bills, providing homeowners with decades of sustainable, low-cost energy.

Government Incentives and Rebates for Solar Adoption

Government incentives, for example, the federal solar investment tax credit and state-level programs, significantly reduce the cost of installing solar panels. These financial incentives make solar adoption more accessible, encouraging homeowners to invest in this renewable energy source and experience substantial reductions in their energy bills.

Enhancing Property Value and Market Appeal

Solar panel installations reduce electric bills and increase property value and market appeal. Homes with solar features often command a premium in the real estate market, making solar a compelling investment choice for homeowners looking to reduce costs and enhance the overall value of their properties.

How Can I Reduce My Electricity Bill in California?

Let’s find ways to save money and help the environment by learning simple tricks to lower your electric bills in California:

Upgrade to Energy-Efficient Appliances and Lighting

Upgrade to LED bulbs and ENERGY STAR-rated appliances to optimize electricity use. These modern devices consume less energy, translating to lower monthly bills. Consider replacing outdated appliances with newer, more energy-efficient models to maximize savings.

Implement Smart Thermostats for Precision Control

Smart thermostats provide precise heating and cooling control, allowing you to optimize energy use. Program them to adjust temperatures based on occupancy and time, significantly saving heating and cooling costs. Investing in this technology pays off in both comfort and reduced bills.

Utilize Time-of-Use Rates Strategically

Take advantage of California’s time-of-use (TOU) rates by planning major appliance use during off-peak hours. This strategic approach ensures that you benefit from reduced electricity rates during specific times of the day. Adjust your routine to align with these off-peak hours for substantial savings.

Acquire Solar Power for Sustainable Savings

Invest in solar panels to harness California’s abundant sunlight. By generating your clean energy, you reduce reliance on the grid, leading to both environmental benefits and long-term savings on your electricity bills. Explore various solar options to find a solution that suits your home and budget.

Develop Everyday Energy Conservation Habits

Develop simple yet impactful habits to reduce energy consumption. Turn off lights and unplug electronics when not in use, conserving energy and contributing to lower bills. These minor adjustments in daily routines can significantly affect overall electricity costs.

Participate in Energy Rebate Programs 

Explore California’s energy rebate programs for financial incentives. These programs offer rebates for upgrading to energy-efficient appliances and installing solar panels. Taking advantage of these incentives reduces your initial investment and contributes to ongoing savings on your electric bills. Stay informed about available programs to make the most of potential savings opportunities.


Understanding the factors influencing the average electric bill in California is vital for residents seeking to manage their energy costs effectively. 

From tiered pricing structures and time-of-use rates to the impact of renewable energy initiatives and environmental regulations, a multifaceted landscape shapes electricity expenses. Awareness of seasonal variations and ongoing grid modernization contributes to the complexity. 

As California navigates its commitment to sustainability and clean energy, residents can make informed choices by considering these factors, implementing energy-efficient practices, and staying attuned to evolving policies. 

Managing the average electric bill becomes a financial consideration and a key element in contributing to a greener, more sustainable future.

About The Author

Ki Song is a dynamic project management professional and certified scrum master with a six-year track record of success in the solar industry. Renowned for a client-centric approach, Ki excels in steering solar projects from conception to fruition and launching innovative solar products tailored to market demands.