U.S. Energy Information Administration - EIA - Independent Statistics and Analysis
Short-Term Energy and Summer Fuels Outlook
Residential electricity prices increased during 2014, with growth ranging from 1.3% in the Pacific Coast states to 9.8% in New England. Retail electricity rates have risen for various reasons. Many electric utilities purchase their power from regional wholesale electricity markets, which experienced higher prices last year. Other reasons commonly cited for higher retail electricity prices are the increased investment in transmission and distribution infrastructure, rising requirements to generate electricity from renewable energy sources, and utility investment in demand-side efficiency.
Retail sales of electricity to the residential sector during the first quarter of 2015 are estimated to be 2.3% lower than sales during the same period in 2014, as average U.S. temperatures this winter were milder than last winter despite colder-than-normal February temperatures in most of the eastern United States. EIA expects U.S. retail residential sales of electricity for the remaining nine months of 2015 will average 1.8% more than the same period last year. Residential sales are forecast to fall by 0.5% in 2016. Projected U.S. sales of electricity to the commercial sector increase by 1.7% this year and by 1.4% in 2016. Projected industrial electricity sales rise by 1.3% in 2015 and by 1.1% in 2016.
The use of natural gas for power generation has exceeded expectations in recent months, and as a result, EIA has raised its projections for natural-gas-fired generation from last month's STEO. During the first quarter of 2015, EIA estimates that natural gas accounted for 28.5% of total generation, which is substantially higher than the 23.6% fuel share during the first quarter of 2014. This increased use of natural gas is driven by lower fuel costs. The Henry Hub natural gas price averaged $2.90/MMBtu in the first quarter of this year compared with $5.20/MMBtu during the same period of 2014. EIA expects the natural gas fuel share to average 30.4% for all of 2015, up from 27.4% during 2014. In contrast, the share of total generation fueled by coal falls from 38.7% in 2014 to 35.8% this year.
Electricity Retail Prices
Residential electricity rates in New England have continued to increase, with the January 2015 price averaging about 10% more than the price in November 2014. For the United States as a whole, EIA expects continued growth in average residential electricity prices over the forecast period, albeit at a slower pace than last year. The U.S. retail residential price is projected to increase by 1.4% in 2015 and by 1.8% in 2016.
|U.S. Electricity Summary|
|2013||2014||2015 projected||2016 projected|
|Retail Prices||(cents per kilowatthour)|
|Power Generation Fuel Costs||(dollars per million Btu)|
|Residual Fuel Oil||19.32||19.18||11.16||12.68|
|Distillate Fuel Oil||23.05||22.34||15.61||18.60|
|Generation||(billion kWh per day)|
|Retail Sales||(billion kWh per day)|
|Total Retail Sales||10.21||10.20||10.32||10.39|
|Primary Assumptions||(percent change from previous year)|
|Real DIsposable Personal Income||-0.2||2.5||3.1||2.2|
|Manufacturing Production Index||2.9||3.8||2.9||2.8|
|Cooling Degree Days||-12.6||-0.5||6.5||0.3|
|Heating Degree Days||18.5||2.0||-3.9||-4.6|
|Number of Households||0.7||0.8||0.7||0.9|
Interactive Data Viewers
|Today In Energy||Daily|
|Annual Energy Outlook Electric Power Projections||Annual|
|Annual Energy Outlook Levelized Generation Costs||Annual|
|2015 Summer Fuels Outlook Slideshow||Apr-2015|
|2014-2015 Winter Fuels Outlook Slideshow||Oct-2014|
|2014 Summer Fuels Outlook Slideshow||Apr-2014|
|Energy-weighted industrial production indices||Mar-2014|
|Summer 2013 Outlook for Residential Electric Bills||Jun-2013|
|Changes to Electricity and Renewables Tables||Aug-2012|
|Fuel Competition in Power Generation||Jun-2012|