Electricity costs rise $300 in five years

The figures come courtesy of USA Today‘s analysis of government data. On the one hand, higher electricity bills should be expected: The average household is likely to be sucking up more electricity today, thanks to the increased use of smartphones, tablets, gaming machines, multiple TVs, and all sorts of other gadgets.

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But the increased use of technology is measured, at least partly, by the fact that modern electronics and appliances require less electricity than older models. A new refrigerator, for example, requires half the electricity of its early ’90s counterpart. Today’s air-conditioners consume less electricity as well.

On the other-other hand (yes, that makes three hands, but oh well), recently constructed houses tend to be bigger than those built a generation ago—so they need more A/C. They also come with more outlets, where lamps, computers, fourth TV sets, and extra fridges are likely plugged in.