Georgia might as well be buried in snow, based on high energy bills

Highest monthly energy costs

1. Connecticut, $404

2. Massachusetts, $346

3. Rhode Island, $338

4. Vermont, $332

5. Georgia, $328

6. North Dakota, $328

7. Maine, $327

8. New Hampshire, $325

9. Indiana, $325

10. Mississippi, $323

Source: WalletHub

We’re already deep in the heart of air conditioning season, and dreading the power bills we’ll be getting shortly in the mail.

And for good reason, it turns out.

Georgians' energy costs are among the highest in the nation thanks to a combination of huge electricity bills and all that gasoline they burn sitting in Atlanta's traffic jams, according to WalletHub, a list-happy online consumer news site.

At an average of $328 a month, Georgia residents have the fifth-highest total energy costs in the nation, according to WalletHub, right up there with several northern states like Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont and North Dakota, where folks have to dig out of snowdrifts and hefty heating bills each winter.

Atlanta-based Georgia Power, the largest electric utility in the state, says it has among the lowest electricity rates in the nation thanks partly to heavy reliance on cheap natural gas.

The utility recently agreed to freeze base electricity rates for three years as part of its deal with state regulators approving its acquisition of natural gas utility AGL Resources, completed earlier this month.

But lower electricity rates aren’t enough to insulate customers from high electricity bills to keep those air conditioners running in the summer, according to WalletHub.

Georgia and its southern neighbors, plus Hawaii, have the highest electricity bills in the nation, ranging from $177 a month in South Carolina and Hawaii — highest in the nation — to $157 in Georgia, sixth-highest.

Consumers in most other southern states catch some breaks on other energy costs such as gasoline and natural gas that leave them ranking well below Georgia. Mississippi, for instance, ranks 10th in WalletHub’s list, with average monthly energy costs of $323. Alabama ranks 13th, with $318.

Of the 15 most costly states energy-wise, 11 are north of the Mason-Dixon line, where winter heating bills are still high despite global warming.

Georgia also hangs out with this bunch because its has the 10th highest gasoline costs in the nation, at $126 a month.

The number-crunchers at WalletHub came up with their cost estimates using federal and AAA data for average energy prices and consumption, average miles driven, number of drivers, etc., for electricity, natural gas, heating oil and gasoline for each state.

Who has the highest energy costs? Connecticut, at $404 a month, mostly due to the seventh highest electricity bills, $155 a month, and the nation’s highest heating oil bills, at $104 a month.

Who has the lowest energy bills? Cool, rainy Washington, at $218 a month, where on average no monthly bills for electricity, gasoline or other fuels crack $100.