November Electricity Sales Soft


Residential sales down 7 percent from November 2014, 6 percent from November 2013

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Electricity sales were soft last November, per Energy Department data released last week. A combination of mild weather and a disappointing economy led to overall sales off 4 percent from November 2014 and 3 percent from November 3013. 

The news was worse in the largest sector, residential (or better if you prefer lower energy consumption). Electricity sales to households were off 7 percent from November 2014 and 6 percent from November 2013. 

Electricity sales to the industrial sector continue their long-term decline that seemed to be interrupted by a somewhat strong 2014. Industrial sales last November were in the mid-seventies again, as in around 75 million megawatt-hours. 

How bad is that? Only one month in 2014 was down in the seventies at all, and only three months in 2013. In the first eleven months of 2015, five of the months were down in the seventies. 

Last November was the worst month for industrial sales in awhile (when adjusting February 2015 for its 28 days). The nation’s industrial economy seems to be regressing back to its terrible numbers of 2009 – 2010. Industry was so weak in 2009 that it used, nationwide, an average of just 105 thousand megawatt-hours per hour that year. 

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Despite what happened in November, 2015 year-to-date electricity sales to the residential sector were higher than in any year since 2011, and to the commercial sector were higher than any year in history. As industrial America fades, the residential and commercial sectors are becoming the dominant two in electricity, now accounting for nearly three-quarters of sales and consumption. 

But a soft December would rob 2015 of beating 2014 in residential sales. Let’s see if December comes in at 118 thousand megawatt-hours or less. The Energy Department releases the December numbers on February 26th.

Not being a news service, Public Utilities Fortnightly doesn’t report the numbers or the events of the day, for the electricity and natural gas utility industries. But we intend to give them a balanced perspective, through articles and columns by the most respected thought leaders, as well as unique analyses dissecting where we’re actually heading.

Steve Mitnick, Editor-in-Chief, Public Utilities Fortnightly
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