Following an increase of nearly 11 percent in the year ending in April 2006, the average price of electricity for industrial or large commercial entities in the United States rose another 4.7 percent over the past year.

The annual survey was done by an independent consulting company, NUS Consulting Group, Park Ridge, N.J. It found the average price of electricity in the United States was 9.28 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh) as of April 1, 2007, compared to 8.86 cents per kWh in April 2006. The survey samples 24 of the largest investor-owned electric companies in the country, using an industrial model of monthly usage totaling 450,000 kWh with a monthly demand of 1,000 kW.

As with past surveys, the study found customers in California, Maryland and New York pay some of the highest electricity prices in the country. The top five surveyed utilities in terms of price included Consolidated Edison (N.Y.) at 18.29 cents/kWh, National Grid (N.Y.) at 14.06 cents/kWh, Baltimore Gas & Electric (Md.) at 12.98 cents/kWh, Southern California Edison (Calif.) at 12.65 cents/kWh, and Pacific Gas & Electric (Calif.) at 11.45 cents/kWh.

The largest price escalation over the past year occurred in Illinois as ComEd industrial customers witnessed their electricity costs increase by 36.1 percent. Other utilities with notable increases included Consolidated Edison (N.Y.) at 25.6 percent, Xcel Energy (Minn.) at 22.1 percent, Entergy (La.) at 17.5 percent and National Grid (N.Y.) at 16.4 percent.

The survey found the lowest priced utilities included Dominion Power (Va.) at 5.20 cents/kWh, Duke Power (N.C.) at 5.28 cents/kWh, Ohio Power at 5.34 cents/kWh, Ameren UE (Mo.) at 5.46 cents/kWh, and Alabama Power at 6.30 cents/kWh. The largest price decreases over the past year were found with Southern California Edison at 13.3 percent and Public Service Electric & Gas (N.J.) at 11.5 percent.

As found in previous surveys, the highest power prices can be found in those states that have deregulated their retail electricity markets. Considered in the past by many as a means of lowering electricity prices, the central promise of deregulation has yet to be fulfilled for many consumers.EC