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Electricity Monthly Update

With Data for May 2015  |  Release Date: July 27, 2015  |  Next Release Date: August 25, 2015

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End Use: May 2015

Retail rates/prices and consumption

In this section, we look at what electricity costs and how much is purchased. Charges for retail electric service are based primarily on rates approved by state regulators. However, a number of states have allowed retail marketers to compete to serve customers and these competitive retail suppliers offer electricity at a market-based price.

EIA does not directly collect retail electricity rates or prices. However, using data collected on retail sales revenues and volumes, we calculate average retail revenues per kWh as a proxy for retail rates and prices. Retail sales volumes are presented as a proxy for end-use electricity consumption.

Average revenue per kWh by state

Average revenue per kilowatthour figures were up in 30 states this May when compared to last year. Though not entirely uniform, most of these states are located in the West, northern Midcontinent, and Northeast regions. Three states had increases larger than 10% from last May, with two New England states leading the way. Connecticut was up 12% and Massachusetts up 11% from last year, with Idaho recording the third largest increase at just under 11%. Montana, New Hampshire (both up 7%) and Maine (up 5%) were also up over 5% on the month.

Average revenue per kilowatthour figures were lower in 20 states and the District of Columbia. Hawaii, for the fifth month in a row, is the state with the largest year-over-year decline, down nearly 24%, as significantly lower world oil prices continue to benefit the state's petroleum-heavy bulk power system. The majority of the other states trending lower this May are located in the lower Midcontinent and Southeast regions.

Total average revenues per kilowatthour were 10.21 cents in May, down slightly (-0.2%) from last year. The residential sector was the only sector up from last May (+0.9%), while the Commercial (-1%), Industrial (-1.3%) and Transportation (-0.9%) sectors were all down compared to last year.

Total retail sales volumes were down slightly this month, falling 0.9% to 285,707 GWh and were down in each individual sector. Of the three main sectors, Industrial was down the most, -1.7% to 80,356 GWh, followed by a -0.6% decline in the Residential sector to 94,922 GWh and a -0.5% decline to 109,819 GWh in the Commercial sector, which was also the largest sector by sales volumes during the month of May.

Retail sales

May electric industry retail sales volumes generally mirrored weather patterns and was split largely by the Mississippi River, with most states west of the Mississippi down compared to last year and a large number of states east of the Mississippi up from last year. The largest retail sales declines occurred in Arizona, down over 7%, and Nebraska and Washington, both of which were down nearly 7% for the month. Kansas, Louisiana and North Dakota were the only states in the continental U.S. west of the Mississippi to record retail sales volume increases during the month. New Jersey had the largest year-over-year increase, up 12% in May, followed by the District of Columbia, West Virginia, Virginia, and Maryland, all up 5% to 7% for the month.

As evidenced in retail sales volumes, Cooling Degree Day (CDD) trends in May were generally split across the Mississippi River. CDDs were down in all states across the West except in Washington, Texas, and Louisiana, and were up in most states east of the Mississippi, particularly in the Northeast. States from Pennsylvania to the north and east are shaded grey due to a low CDD baseline for the month, obscuring record average temperatures in that region. Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Vermont experienced their warmest May's on record and Maine, Vermont, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Maryland had one of their five warmest May's on record.

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