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Electricity Monthly Update

With Data for September 2020 Release Date: November 24, 2020 Next Release Date: December 24, 2020

Electric Power Sector Coal Stocks: September 2020


Total U.S. coal stockpiles had a small month-over-month decrease of 0.5%, reaching 129 million tons in September 2020. This August to September fall in total U.S. coal stockpiles follows the normal seasonal pattern, as coal stockpiles decrease during the summer months so that coal-fired generators can meet the summer demand for electricity.

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. For bituminous units largely located in the eastern United States, the average number of days of burn decreased from the previous month, going from 125 days of forward-looking days of burn in August 2020 to 116 days of burn in September 2020. For subbituminous units largely located in the western United States, the average number of days of burn increased slightly, going from 104 days of burn in August 2020 to 105 days of burn in September 2020.

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

    September 2020 September 2019   August 2020  
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 3,910 284 3,897 191 0.3% 3,691 278 5.9%
  Subbituminous 160 159 162 159 -1.2% 160 185 0.0%
South Bituminous 17,908 105 21,293 104 -15.9% 19,740 114 -9.3%
  Subbituminous 6,060 83 4,676 61 29.6% 5,936 76 2.1%
Midwest Bituminous 13,327 112 10,242 85 30.1% 13,059 115 2.1%
  Subbituminous 28,696 125 22,369 93 28.3% 27,509 125 4.3%
West Bituminous 3,815 160 3,408 73 11.9% 3,910 163 -2.4%
  Subbituminous 23,383 92 20,078 72 16.5% 24,495 92 -4.5%
U.S. Total Bituminous 38,960 116 38,840 100 0.3% 40,400 125 -3.6%
  Subbituminous 58,299 105 47,285 79 23.3% 58,099 104 0.3%

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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