A new data tool from the Kentucky Cabinet of Energy and Environment shows that Eastern Kentucky electric rates are among the highest in the state, while gas rates are among the lowest. lower.

The Kentucky Energy Accessibility Dashboard allows visitors to compare the costs of various utilities, including electricity, gas, and water, in each county, as well as demographics.

According to the data, in 2020, utility customers in Boyd, Perry and Pike counties had an average monthly bill of $147.05. Big Sandy area counties (Pike, Floyd, Johnson, Martin and Magoffin) all landed in the top 20 for average monthly power bills, with Floyd, Martin and Johnson all hitting $145.43.

Daniel Bell, an economics professor at Big Sandy Community and Technical College, said consumers pay the cost due to regulations.

He said there are other sources besides coal to generate electricity, but the coal industry should have been left alone and it should have taken care of itself. Competition would have forced it to compete with other sources such as wind and solar, he said, adding that competition makes companies more efficient and seek out the most efficient technologies.

“Overregulation has forced some companies out of the industry,” Bell said. “If they didn’t leave immediately, they closed some of their factories. With less production it just becomes the old supply and demand argument with less supply trying to meet the same demand or more than likely higher demand,” he said. “If the invisible hand (competition) had been allowed to operate without excessive regulation, then the United States would have had more input coal produced and produced more efficiently through possibly newer or modified integrated technologies.”

The lowest average monthly electricity bills in 2020 were in Boone and Kenton ($96.91), Wayne ($104.60), Jefferson ($105.75) and Cumberland ($107.01) counties .

In terms of gas bills, counties in the Big Sandy area are all in the bottom 20 for average monthly bills, with Pike, Floyd, Johnson, Martin, and Magoffin counties posting an average monthly bill of 20.28 $ in 2020, while Perry County came in higher with an average monthly bill of $23.63.

The highest average monthly gas bills in the state in 2020 were seen in Daviess and Hancock counties ($46.23) and Elliott, Lawrence and Carter counties ($40.29).

The area’s average monthly water bills were within the state’s average range, with Perry at $29.24 and Floyd, Johnson, Magoffin, Martin, and Pike counties at an average monthly bill of $27.64. $.

Using demographic information, the dashboard also displays each county’s average energy load, calculated as a percentage of each county’s median household income. In Floyd County, this burden is calculated at 6%, while in Perry and Pike counties the burden is 5% and the burden in Johnson County is calculated at 4%.

The dashboard can be found at, kystats.ky.gov/Reports/Tableau/2022_EnergyDash.