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Electricity Monthly Update

With Data for June 2019  |  Release Date: August 26, 2019  |  Next Release Date: September 24, 2019

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Electric Power Sector Coal Stocks: June 2019



For the third consecutive month, U.S. coal stockpiles saw a month-over-month increase, going up 1% from May 2019 to 116 million tons in June 2019. June 2019 marks the first June since June 2009 that total coal stocks have increased month-over-month. Under previous market conditions, coal stocks tended to get burned down in June as the demand for power generation increases due to summer heat. However, with increased competition from natural gas and renewables, as well as coal retirements, it is possible that stocks are not being burned off as quickly as years past in the early summer months. The one exception to the June 2019 increase in coal stocks in terms of coal rank is lignite stocks that decreased by 0.7 million tons, or 21.6%, relative to May 2019.

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 82 days of forward-looking days of burn in May 2019 to 89 days of burn in June 2019. For subbituminous units largely located in the western United States, the average number of days of burn decreased, going from 63 days of burn in May 2019 to 62 days of burn in June 2019. Of note, the increase in days of burn for bituminous units is the first time bituminous days of burn have gone up month-over-month in June during the 2010 to 2019 period.

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

  June 2019   June 2018   May 2019  
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 4,129 196   3,408 85 21.1% 3,956 194 4.4%
  Subbituminous 163 227   147 213 11.4% 163 250 0.0%
South Bituminous 23,997 88   21,552 62 11.3% 22,319 80 7.5%
  Subbituminous 4,739 45   6,246 55 -24.1% 5,071 50 -6.6%
Midwest Bituminous 11,195 81   10,802 73 3.6% 10,056 72 11.3%
  Subbituminous 22,647 73   31,480 79 -28.1% 22,226 73 1.9%
West Bituminous 3,776 71   5,317 99 -29.0% 3,971 79 -4.9%
  Subbituminous 19,618 58   24,961 69 -21.4% 19,636 58 -0.1%
U.S. Total Bituminous 43,097 89   41,080 70 4.9% 40,302 82 6.9%
  Subbituminous 47,167 62   62,833 72 -24.9% 47,096 63 0.2%

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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