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Electricity Monthly Update

With Data for August 2014  |  Release Date: Oct. 24, 2014  |  Next Release Date: Nov. 24, 2014

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Electric Power Sector Coal Stocks: August 2014

 



Total U.S. coal stocks decreased by 4.3 million tons compared to the previous month. This decrease in coal stocks follows the seasonal pattern where a significant decrease in coal stocks occurs in the summer as power plants consume more coal to meet increased electricity demand during the summer months. Furthermore, compared to the previous August, total U.S. coal stocks are down 21.5%. 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 53 days the previous month to 67 days in August 2014, while the total subbituminous supply increased from 39 days in July 2014 to 41 days in August 2014.

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

  August 2014   August 2013   July 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 5,564 68   5,742 55 -3.1% 5,061 48 9.9%
  Subbituminous 356 127   468 72 -23.9% 319 34 11.6%
South Bituminous 29,017 68   42,820 95 -32.2% 29,092 51 -0.3%
  Subbituminous 4,184 42   5,130 52 -18.4% 4,360 38 -4.0%
Midwest Bituminous 12,782 61   14,434 67 -11.4% 13,092 51 -2.4%
  Subbituminous 24,089 39   37,086 61 -35.0% 26,895 38 -10.4%
West Bituminous 4,820 82   6,452 113 -25.3% 5,122 80 -5.9%
  Subbituminous 18,395 43   27,622 67 -33.4% 19,777 41 -7.0%
U.S. Total Bituminous 52,183 67   69,448 84 -24.9% 52,368 53 -0.4%
  Subbituminous 47,025 41   70,305 62 -33.1% 51,351 39 -8.4%

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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