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Electricity Monthly Update

With Data for March 2015  |  Release Date: May 28, 2015  |  Next Release Date: June 24, 2015

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End Use: March 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 March. Twenty-four states and the District of Columbia were down from last year. Hawaii had by far the largest year-over-year decline for the third straight month, down nearly 22% from last year as the state's petroleum heavy power sector benefits from the fall in world oil prices over the last year. Georgia had the second largest decrease, down nearly 9%, followed by Tennessee, Minnesota and Maine, all of which had decreases of just over 7%.

Twenty-six states had average revenue per kilowatthour figures higher than last year, with the four largest increases found in New England. Rhode Island was up over 19%, Massachusetts was up over 18%, New Hampshire was up over 10% and Connecticut was up nearly 9% compared to last March.

Total average revenues per kilowatthour were 10.30 cents in March, unchanged from last year. The Residential sector was the only sector up from last March, up just 0.9%, with the Commercial, Industrial and Transportation sectors all down compared to last year.

Total retail sales volumes were up 1.0% to 302,108,000 MWh in March compared to last year. Residential retail sales volumes, the largest sector by size, was up 2.4% from last year. Commercial sector volumes, slightly smaller than the Residential sector for the month, were up 0.8% in March. The Industrial sector was the only sector down during the month, falling by 1.0% from last March.

Retail sales

March electric industry retail sales volumes are an interesting seasonal case relative to weather patterns during the month. Heating degree-days were down in nearly all states, with many of them significantly down, during the month. During winter and summer months such a weather pattern would likely lead to a change in retail sales volume either up or down. But during a shoulder season month like March, warmer weather means different things in different states. It can mean warm weather and higher climate control (cooling) demand in southern states and not-so-cold weather in northern states and lower climate control (heating) demand. This geographic pattern generally occurred in March as most of the states with the largest increases in year-over-year sales volumes are southern states and most of the states with the largest year-over-year sales volumes decreases are northern states.

In March, heating degree days were down nearly 70% in Florida (though the base number is small), down over 25% in twelve other states and down between 15-25% in 13 states. Only Connecticut and Rhode Island were up, and just slightly up at that, 1.8% and 1.3%, respectively.

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