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Electricity Monthly Update

With Data for April 2015  |  Release Date: June 25, 2015  |  Next Release Date: July 24, 2015

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End Use: April 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 almost evenly split between those states higher and those lower compared to last April. Twenty-nine states were up from last year. Rhode Island (13.7%) and Massachusetts (12.2%) experienced the largest year-over-year percentage increases, as five out of the six New England states had increases relative to last April. In fact, average revenue per kilowatthour was up 9.1% in New England, the largest increase of any region. A large swath of increases also occurred in the western and central portions of the country.

Twenty-one states and the District of Columbia had average revenue per kilowatthour figures that were lower than last year. Hawaii had the largest year-over-year decline for the fourth straight month, down about 22% from last year as the state's petroleum-heavy power sector continued to benefit from the fall in world oil prices relative to last year. Louisiana had the second largest decrease with a decrease of 12%, followed by Delaware at 10%.

Total average revenues per kilowatthour were 10.02 cents in April, down 0.2% relative to last year. On balance, strong decreases in average revenues per kilowatthour in the Commercial (-1.5%) and Industrial (-2.8%) sectors overwhelmed strong increases in the Residential (2.8%) sectors to produce a reduction in total average revenues per kilowatthour.

Residential retail sales volumes were down by 2.6% compared to last April, with retail sales in the transportation sector also down (-2.9%). However, increases in the commerical sector (1.5%) and industrial sector (0.1%) caused total retail sales to be down by just 0.3% compared to last year. Also, in shoulder months, like April, residential sales volumes (89,825,000 MWh) are smaller than commercial sales volumes (104,385,000 MWh).

Retail sales

April 2015 sales volumes were down in 34 states and the District of Columbia relative to the same month last year. Interestingly, states that had reductions in demand were largely in a region bordered by the Midwest (Northern Plains) in the North to the Gulf Coast in the south and the mid-Atlantic seaboard in the east. The fall in demand for those regions is in accordance with weather patterns that prevailed in April 2015, which saw strong reductions in heating degree days in those areas. In areas where heating degree days were up, such as the west, demand tended to increase.

In April, total U.S. heating degree days were down around 9% relative to April 2014. As illustrated in the maps, the largest percent decreases in heating degree days centered on the Gulf Coast states, as well as the four-state region of Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Arkansas.

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