‹ Analysis & Projections

Short-Term Energy Outlook

Release Date: January 13, 2015  |  Next Release Date: February 10, 2015  |  Full Report    |   Text Only   |   All Tables   |   All Figures

Electricity

The U.S. residential retail price averaged 12.54 cents per kilowatthour (kWh) between January and October 2014, which was 3.1% higher than the same period in 2013. Electricity rates rose the fastest in the New England states (10.9%) over this period, while residential prices in the West North Central region rose by 1.6%. Growth in residential electricity prices for the Pacific states in 2014 was relatively flat compared with 2013, as growth in regional rates was offset by credits to the electricity bills of some California residential customers. Retail electricity prices to the commercial and industrial sectors also increased over 2013 levels: by 4.4% and 3.4%, respectively.

Electricity Consumption

Heating degree days (HDD) during the first quarter of 2015 are projected to be about 12% lower than last year. Milder forecast temperatures during the early part of 2015 should translate to lower household usage of electricity, especially for those households that use heat pumps for space heating. This contributes to EIA's forecast of a 0.3% decline in retail sales of electricity to the residential sector for the full year of 2015. Residential electricity sales grow by 0.6% in 2016.

Electricity Generation

EIA forecasts that U.S. electricity generation will grow by 1.1% in 2015 and then by 0.9% in 2016. The mix of energy sources used to produce this generation shifts over the next two years. The share of total generation fueled by coal falls from 39.0% in 2014 to 37.6% in 2016, as declining natural gas prices make that fuel more attractive for power generators and as coal-fueled plants retire in 2015. This decline in coal is balanced by an increase in natural gas generation, which rises from 27.3% of total generation in 2014 to 28.1% in 2016, and by an increase in renewable electricity (other than hydropower), which rises from 6.7% to 7.9%.

Electricity Retail Prices

EIA expects continued growth in average residential electricity prices over the forecast period, albeit at a slower pace than in 2014. The U.S. retail residential price is projected to increase by 1.1% in 2015 and by 1.8% in 2016. Most areas of the country should experience rising prices, with the exception of the West South Central states where residential prices fall by 3.2% this year. Projected price increases in 2015 are again highest in the New England states (3.8%).

U.S. Electricity Summary
  2013 2014 2015 2016
Retail Prices (cents per kilowatthour)
Residential Sector 12.12 12.50 12.63 12.86
Commercial Sector 10.29 10.73 10.84 11.05
Industrial Sector 6.82 7.04 6.95 7.06
Power Generation Fuel Costs (dollars per million Btu)
Coal 2.35 2.35 2.33 2.35
Natural Gas 4.32 5.04 4.25 4.61
Residual Fuel Oil 19.33 19.43 11.42 12.40
Distillate Fuel Oil 23.08 22.24 15.96 19.19
Generation (billion kWh per day)
Coal 4.345 4.367 4.382 4.297
Natural Gas 3.051 3.055 3.152 3.211
Nuclear 2.162 2.183 2.120 2.143
Conventional Hydroelectric 0.737 0.712 0.727 0.733
Renewable (non-hydroelectric) 0.694 0.754 0.812 0.904
Total Generation 11.118 11.203 11.323 11.420
Retail Sales (billion kWh per day)
Residential Sector 3.81 3.86 3.85 3.87
Commercial Sector 3.67 3.72 3.76 3.78
Industrial Sector 2.62 2.63 2.67 2.72
Total Retail Sales 10.11 10.23 10.31 10.40
Primary Assumptions (percent change from previous year)
Real DIsposable Personal Income -0.2 2.4 2.8 2.7
Manufacturing Production Index 2.9 3.8 2.9 3.1
Cooling Degree Days -12.6 -0.6 4.9 0.4
Heating Degree Days 18.5 2.0 -6.4 -0.6
Number of Households 0.7 0.5 0.8 1.2

Interactive Data Viewers

Provides custom data views of historical and forecast data

STEO Custom Table Builder ›
Real Prices Viewer ›


In beta testing:

STEO Data browser ›

Related Articles    
Today In Energy Daily
Annual Energy Outlook Electric Power Projections Annual
Annual Energy Outlook Levelized Generation Costs Annual
2014-2015 Winter Fuels Outlook Slideshow Oct-2014 PDF
2014 Summer Fuels Outlook Slideshow Apr-2014 PDF
Energy-weighted industrial production indices Mar-2014 PDF
Summer 2013 Outlook for Residential Electric Bills Jun-2013 PDF
Changes to Electricity and Renewables Tables Aug-2012 PDF
Fuel Competition in Power Generation Jun-2012 PDF
more...