Electricity demand from July through September in the U.S. will fall to the lowest seasonal level in four years as milder weather crimps air-conditioner use.
Total power consumption in the lower-48 states will average 11.72 billion kilowatt-hours per day in the third quarter, the least for this time of the year since 2009, the Energy Information Administration said in its Short-Term Energy Outlook, released today in Washington. The 2013 outlook was trimmed to 10.52 billion kilowatt-hours a day from 10.56 billion estimated in May.
“The past three summers have been especially warm,” the EIA, the statistical division of the Energy Department, said in a summer outlook linked to the monthly report. “The milder temperatures expected this summer should reduce the need for air conditioning, leading to lower electricity usage nationwide.”
The average household electric bills from June through August will decline 2.5 percent from a year earlier to $395, the government estimated. Residential electricity usage will drop 4.6 percent to average 3,200 kilowatt hours per customer during the period.
The number of cooling degree days this summer, a measure of air conditioner use factoring in population, will drop 8.2 percent to 915 from a year earlier, the EIA said. The number is 1.8 percent lower than the average for the same months from 2003 through 2012.
The fuel cost to generate electricity, including natural gas and coal, will climb 14 percent in 2013. “The effect on residential rates is unlikely to be fully passed through to customers for another year or more,” the EIA said.
The residential price of electricity from June through August will increase 2.2 percent to 12.35 cents a kilowatt-hour.
Power plants fueled by natural gas will account for 27.6 percent of the electricity produced in the U.S. in 2013, down from 30.4 percent in 2012. Coal’s share will climb to 40.2 percent from 37.4 percent last year.
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