Definitions, Sources and Explanatory Notes

 Category:   Natural Gas Consumption
 Topic:   Number of Consumers


Key Terms Definition
Commercial Consumption Gas used by nonmanufacturing establishments or agencies primarily engaged in the sale of goods or services. Included are such establishments as hotels, restaurants, wholesale and retail stores and other service enterprises; gas used by local, State, and Federal agencies engaged in nonmanufacturing activities.
Industrial Consumption Natural gas used for heat, power, or chemical feedstock by manufacturing establishments or those engaged in mining or other mineral extraction as well as consumers in agriculture, forestry, and fisheries. Also included in industrial consumption are generators that produce electricity and/or useful thermal output primarily to support the above-mentioned industrial activities.
Residential Consumption Gas used in private dwellings, including apartments, for heating, air-conditioning, cooking, water heating, and other household uses.
Sales Consumers Consumers who buy their gas from the company that delivered it to them.
Transported Consumers Consumers who buy their gas from a company other than the one that delivered it to them.

For definitions of related energy terms, refer to the EIA Energy Glossary.


Form EIA-176, "Annual Report of Natural and Supplemental Gas Supply and Disposition"

  • Background on "Natural Gas Annual" data
  • Natural Gas Survey Forms and Instructions

  •   Explanatory Notes

  • Totals may not equal sum of components due to independent rounding.
  • Beginning in 1996, consumption of natural gas for agricultural use was classified as industrial use. In 1995 and earlier years, agricultural use was classified as commercial use.
  • Cautionary note: EIA expects that there may be some double counting in the number of residential and commercial customers reported beginning in 1999. EIA collects information on the number of residential and commercial consumers through a survey of companies that deliver gas to consumers Form EIA-176, "Annual Report of Natural and Supplemental Gas Supply and Disposition" . The survey asks companies for the number of residential and commercial customers served as sales customers as well as customers to whom they deliver gas purchased from others. Traditionally, residential and commercial customers obtained gas and all services associated with delivering it from their local distribution company (LDC). The LDC records these customers as sales customers. Customer choice programs allow consumers to select the provider from whom they purchase gas. When customers elect to purchase gas from a provider other than the LDC, the LDC continues to deliver the gas to the customer even though it no longer sells the gas. When customers switch to another provider, they become transportation service customers for the LDC. A residential or commercial customer who enters a customer choice program may be classified both as a traditional sales customer and, after entering the program, as a transportation service customer. This double reporting affects the number of residential and commerical consumers measured. Customer choice programs, also known as retail unbundling programs, have been ongoing since 1998. Description of programs for States offering customer choice.
  • Statistical Considerations (Sample Design, Estimation Procedures, Final Revisions, Reliability of Monthly Data).
  • Beginning in 2009 , Pipeline and distribution use volumes include line loss, defined as known volumes of natural gas resulting from leaks, damage, accidents, migration, and/or blowdowns. They also include fuel used in liquefaction and regasification.