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Electricity Monthly Update

With Data for April 2016  |  Release Date: June 24, 2016  |  Next Release Date: July 25, 2016

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End Use: April 2016

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 decreased in 29 states and the District of Columbia in April compared to last year. The largest declines were found in Nevada (down 15%), Hawaii (down 14%), and Mississippi (down 13%). Hawaii's electricity sector is largely fueled by petroleum products shipped from the U.S. mainland and imported sources, and has benefitted greatly from the drop in world oil prices over the last several years. Its 22.68 cents per kilowatthour average in April was the lowest average since September 2009 and down nearly 40% from a high of 34.61 cents in July 2012. Twenty-two states increased compared to last year, led by West Virginia (up 9%), Delaware (up 8%), Alaska (up 6%), and South Dakota (up 5%).

Total average revenues per kilowatthour were down 2.1% to 9.81 cents in April compared to last year. All sectors were down on the month, from a 4.3% drop in the Transportation sector to a 1.7% drop in the Residential sector. Retail sales were down 2.3% to 266,376 gigawatthours (GWh), with declines also across all sectors.

Retail sales

State retail sales volumes were down in 39 states and the District of Columbia in April compared to last year. Idaho recorded the largest year-over-year decline, down just over 10%. The District of Columbia, Delaware, and Washington had the next largest declines, all down 8-9%. Twelve states had retail sales volume increases in April, led by West Virginia (up over 3%), Louisiana (up nearly 3%), and Rhode Island (up nearly 2%).

Heating Degree Days (HDD) measure the daily variation in average temperature from a 65 degree Fahrenheit baseline, chosen as a proxy for minimum heating or cooling energy demand. HDDs rose in 32 states and the District of Columbia in April, largely across the South and eastern half of the country. Fourteen states had HDD declines from last year, mostly in the western US. The largest declines were found in the Pacific Northwest, where Washington, Oregon, and Idaho had their second-warmest April on record. This warm weather had a large impact on hydrological conditions across the West. Snowpack levels diminished considerably, sharply increasing water flows. Though positive for hydro generation during the month (total hydro generation increased from 12.94 terawatthours in April 2015 to 17.91 terawatthours in April 2016 across the West), it will also have the effect of decreasing hydro generation potential in the coming months as snowpack levels are lower to nonexistent.

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