'Cause We are the Champions of the World

With electric service at the all-time low as a share of consumer expenditures, it’s time for regulators, utilities, advocates to claim their achievement.
Today in Fortnightly

We are the champions.
We are the champions.
No time for losers.
'Cause we are the champions of the world.

As we wrote yesterday, electric service has never been cheaper for the American consumer than it was in November. Never. Ever. 

Over the last 695 months! Since January 1959, when The Chipmunk Song and then Smoke Gets in Your Eyes made it to the top of the Billboard Hot 100.

The Commerce Department publishes each month an extraordinarily detailed table on Americans' personal consumer expenditures, to estimate the Gross Domestic Product. Its latest release shows that the share of consumer expenditures spent on electric service was just 1.30 percent. 

As recently as December 2010, the percent was 1.70 percent. Electricity's slice of consumer expenditures was over thirty percent higher than today.

In August 1983, the percent hit the all-time high, 2.51 percent. Electricity's slice of consumer expenditures was over ninety percent higher than today. Indeed, electricity's slice was routinely over fifty percent higher than today during the eighties and early nineties.

We use more electricity than in earlier decades, and are more dependent on its use. Yet we spend less on it as a percentage of our expenditures.

Electric service now costs us just one-seventy-seventh of our expenditures. So, we have seventy-six seventy-sevenths to spend on other goods and services. 

The news is even better for some regions of the country. The Northeast and West have lower than average expenditures for electricity and higher than average overall expenditures. 

Therefore, electricity's share of overall expenditures in the Northeast and West may be as low as 1.00 percent. At such a low level, electric service would be one-hundredth of expenditures.

Which reminds us of the song by Queen. Isn't it time for regulators, utilities, advocates to claim their achievement? 


Number-crunching courtesy of Public Utilities Fortnightly.