U.S. Energy Information Administration logo
Skip to sub-navigation

Electricity Monthly Update

With Data for December 2020 Release Date: February 24, 2021 Next Release Date: March 24, 2021

Electric Power Sector Coal Stocks: December 2020


Total U.S. coal stockpiles had a month-over-month decrease of 2.5%, reaching 133 million tons in December 2020. This November to December decrease in total U.S. coal stockpiles follows the normal seasonal pattern, as coal stockpiles decrease in the colder months as coal-fired generators meet the winter 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 increased from the previous month, going from 140 days of forward-looking days of burn in November 2020 to 145 days of burn in December 2020. For subbituminous units largely located in the western United States, the average number of days of burn also increased, going from 114 days of burn in November 2020 to 125 days of burn in December 2020.

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

    December 2020 December 2019   November 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 3,657 313 4,185 210 -12.6% 4,135 325 -11.6%
  Subbituminous 158 293 162 306 -2.3% 160 139 -1.1%
South Bituminous 20,958 136 24,149 128 -13.2% 21,265 130 -1.4%
  Subbituminous 6,491 107 6,868 94 -5.5% 6,539 100 -0.7%
Midwest Bituminous 13,470 127 11,892 95 13.3% 14,001 121 -3.8%
  Subbituminous 28,153 141 25,691 109 9.6% 28,798 133 -2.2%
West Bituminous 3,838 199 3,308 143 16.0% 3,934 197 -2.4%
  Subbituminous 24,029 115 23,027 86 4.3% 24,124 103 -0.4%
U.S. Total Bituminous 41,923 145 43,533 125 -3.7% 43,335 140 -3.3%
  Subbituminous 58,832 125 55,748 97 5.5% 59,621 114 -1.3%

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.

Top