One place it's OK for Dallas to top Houston

Dallas and Houston had the the highest home utility rates in the country in September, according to a monthly survey taken by Houston-based utility shopping firm WhiteFence.

whitefence_sept_2008 Dallas and Houston are at the top a list of cities ranked by utility bills in September, thanks largely to power prices in Texas. Houston-based WhiteFence compiles the data monthly.

The average utility bill in Dallas was $395.21 while Houston’s was $343.37, according to the WhiteFence Index, which compares monthly average utility prices for phone, Internet, television, electricity and natural gas in 21 major US cities.

Dallas has ranked as the first or second most expensive city for the past six months, trading spots with Houston. The two Texas cities tend to be toward the top of the list because electricity prices here run above the national average. Just look at this chart, which shows Houston’s combined prices over the last six months, and then change the two boxes at the bottom of the screen to “electricity” on the left and any other city on the right. It’s kind of surprising how much less those other cities pay for power.
Houston gave the top spot back to Dallas in September largely because of Hurricane Ike which left millions without power for many days. The survey takes such activity into account, thus Houston’s power bills dropped from $305 to $188. Dallas’ drop was from $258 to $231.