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Electricity Monthly Update

With Data for September 2014  |  Release Date: Nov. 25, 2014  |  Next Release Date: Dec. 23, 2014

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Electric Power Sector Coal Stocks: September 2014

 



Total U.S. coal stocks increased by 3.1 million tons compared to the previous month. This increase in coal stocks follows the normal seasonal pattern where coal plants begin to build up coal stocks during the autumn months in preperation for increased coal consumption during the winter. However, total U.S. coal stocks are still relatively low compared to the past several years, and compared to the previous September, total U.S. coal stocks are down 18.4%. This large decrease in year-over-year stockpile levels is the result of increased coal-fired electricity generation during a long, cold winter across much of the U.S. and decreased coal deliveries due to lingering rail transportation issues. Certain coal-fired generators have been forced to receive coal by truck and lower or completely idle output due to rail delivery problems. Record grain harvests in 2013 and 2014 and increasing shipments of petroleum products are in some cases contending with coal deliveries and have strained rail capacity on certain lines.

Days of burn




The average number of days of burn held at electric power plants is a forward looking estimate of coal supply given a power plant's current stockpile and past consumption patterns. The total bituminous supply increased from 67 days the previous month to 81 days in September 2014, while the total subbituminous supply increased from 41 days in August 2014 to 46 days in September 2014.

Coal stocks and average number of days of burn for non-lignite coal by region (electric power sector)

  September 2014   September 2013   August 2014  
Zone Coal Stocks (1000 tons) Days of Burn   Stocks (1000 tons) Days of Burn % Change of Stocks Stocks (1000 tons) Days of Burn % Change of Stocks
Northeast Bituminous 6,819 88   6,031 62 13.1% 5,564 68 22.5%
  Subbituminous 553 133   473 82 17.1% 356 127 55.4%
South Bituminous 33,309 86   42,193 94 -21.1% 29,017 68 14.8%
  Subbituminous 6,324 69   5,633 61 12.3% 4,184 42 51.1%
Midwest Bituminous 13,142 69   14,251 69 -7.8% 12,782 61 2.8%
  Subbituminous 25,024 42   36,949 62 -32.3% 24,089 39 3.9%
West Bituminous 4,597 82   6,038 106 -23.9% 4,820 82 -4.6%
  Subbituminous 18,362 47   26,228 66 -30.0% 18,395 43 -0.2%
U.S. Total Bituminous 57,867 81   68,513 85 -15.5% 52,183 67 10.9%
  Subbituminous 50,263 46   69,282 63 -27.5% 47,025 41 6.9%

Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration

NOTE: Stockpile levels shown above reflect a sample of electric power sector plants, which were used to create the days of burn statistics. These levels will not equal total electric power sector stockpile levels.

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