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Readers Respond: Monthly Expenses-How Much Does Electricity Cost in the Desert?

Responses: 15


Update: Submissions to this page are now closed, but I am leaving the comments that were previously submitted in case you find them interesting or instructive.
My highest electricity usage usage is typically over $300 in August, but less than $125 in May. That's not unusual; we live in the desert. With more than 5 months of high temperatures, some people considering moving here might be concerned about how much it costs to cool a typical home. The problem is, there is no typical home! Our houses are different sizes, different ages, made of different materials, some of us have many people in the home, some of us have pools.... I still think it would be helpful for people to know how much we spend on electricity each month. When you answer, please try to include:
  • Square footage of your home or apartment
  • Pool, spa or other major equipment using electricity
  • Block home or frame home
  • All electric or electric/gas
  • How many people live in the home
  • Are you an SRP or APS customer (or other)
  • Which city or town you live in
  • If you know your monthly average electric bill, please share that
  • Any other pertinent information

2300 St Ft Vaulted Ceiling

We have 13 SEER AC units (2) and we paid 370 in July. Aug we were able to get on Easy-3 electric plan, lowering it $60/mo. 2300 St Ft 2004 Home, sun shades and sun screens.
—Guest South Mountain


Well I own a 3000 sq ft brick home on the east side of Tucson it has 2each 3 1/2 ton AC units. Since the HVAC tech out here are ripoff artist I use separate window unit to cool the home to about 74 even this August we paid just $390 total out baseline winter is just $ 70 so we pay just $320 for all the nice cool 74 F air. We use 7 window nits that are all precooled via evaporative cooling pads and we average over 16 to 17 SEER on the wiindie units. Google evaporative cooled condenser and PG&E you will see just how well precooling reduce used the energy AC unit need
—Guest Tomcat

Diminishing Efficiency of A/C unit(s)

Regarding "For no obvious reason, our electric usage in kilowatt hours has increased significantly over similar time periods in previous years." I believe that central a/c units become less efficient as they age thereby requiring them to run longer to provide the same cooling efficiency. I know this to be true for central gas forced air heating. When a new unit is installed it is at its peak efficiency/lowest electricity cost and gradually deteriorates as it ages. Maybe if any readers are HVAC Engineers they could weigh in.
—Guest TomT

avoid AC as much as possible

paid around $225 in August 213. We do not use overhead AC but jump in the pool (18 ft Intex baby pool 8 ft in diameter) and walk around the house in swimsuits, stay well all summer. $135 for June AC
—Guest pooldweller

Costs Are Variable

In Tucson, we spend less than our neighbors and friends in the area because we choose to manage our electric use primarily on cooling. We don't hold back on cooking, washing or computer equipment, just use fans instead of the A/C 90% of the time. Our last bill from mid May to mid June was $95. Previous 3 months were $78-$88. Granted we live in a 2005 nicely built 1700 sq ft single story 3 bdrm home. We use ceiling fans and keep the thermostat between 81-83 allowing temperatures between 81-85. And we come from the Midwest. We also turn off lights when leaving rooms. Our computer equipment uses SSD hard drives. We embrace the heat and enjoy it.

too much

I am spoiled with low electricity in Northern California for 9 months out of the Paying 300.00 a month in Scottsdale seems like flushing money, Wish there was not a summer in Scottsdale. Such a negative, but love the desert. When the economy is bad you do want to rethink your decisions to move to Scottsdale.
—Guest glen

APS recap follow-up

Forgot to add - I have box fans in the house. One runs all day in the principal day use room; another in the bedroom is aimed at me all night. Circulating the air helps make the temperature seem much lower.

Good Timing - Just got 2011 APS recap

I'm in Phoenix, in 1/2 of a block duplex (it's not a legal duplex, but it does have its own electric service). Square footage is approx 1250 sf; no pool or spa or other major appliance. It does have a washer and dryer and dishwasher; the heat/AC is a heat pump unit on the roof, and the dryer is electric; the water heater and the stove are gas, which the landlady pays out of the rent. I live here alone most of the time, but in the summer, 2 of my grand-kids are here for 6 weeks. As shown in response title, I have APS. I keep my thermostat around 67 in the winter, and 82 in the summer. My total electric bill for 2011 was $1076; the highest in August was $203, and the lowest in April was $37. My bill-averaging monthly payment is $83, which actually would not cover the annual total, but they had it set much higher until recently, and I still have a big surplus balance from before they reduced the payment.


I average about $10 monthly until it warms up, then its about $30-35 because of the A/C running at night, this is for a 700 sq ft apartment on the 2nd floor! [Note from About.com Guide: Are you in the Phoenix area? Curious as to how that is possible since both SRP and APS have minimum fees for just having an account and then there are taxes and such. You probably have a refrigerator and electric lights.... Does your apartment complex subsidize a portion of your electric bill?]
—Guest Gene

Electric Bill

High was $564.53 lowest $85.82 I have a pool and a 3800 sq ft home. I have large windows and young trees so no real shade.
—Guest Jean


We moved from a colder climate last so for our first summer in Phoenix we kept the a/c at 76°. We live in a 3000 sq ft wood frame stucco, two story house. Being home all day with little kids, our highest bill was just over $500.
—Guest Katy

Two people...1500sf

Avg bill for past two year is $83. High was 227 and low was 36.64. Have only had one month over $100 outside the typical Jul-Sept
—Guest Jim P


My house is a 2200 square foot blocked frame single story with 16-18 foot vaulted ceilings, lots of large windows and a pool. Everything is electric except for the water heater. I live with my husband and 3 children, 2 of which are boys that are always going in and out. I live in Peoria and have APS. The majority of my windows are west and south facing so I gets tons of sunshine! I had the windows tinted last summer and I think it helped a lot. I keep my house at 80-82 during the summer months and 78 at night. My highest bill last year was $425 and lowest was $120.
—Guest Amanda.M


I live in a 1,000 sq ft apartment, all one floor and older with brick and single payne windows and carpet. I live with one other person and 2 cats. We are APS customers in Central Phoenix with electric and gas heat. Our lowest bill was $65 (March 2012) and highest $275 (July 2011). We live to be comfortable and we set it about 78 degrees in the summer.

I'm on budget billing

My electricity provider is SRP, and they provide me with an average monthly usage bill so that I don't have peaks and valleys in my bills. I like being able to predict what I will have to pay! They reevaluate every three months. Right now I am paying $170 per month. The home is block, north/south exposure, relatively new and energy efficient, no pool, about 2200 sq ft. Two self-employed people live here with pets, so it can never get too hot or too cold in here! It's an all-electric home, no gas.

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