Frequently Asked Questions

How much electricity is lost in transmission and distribution in the United States?

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) estimates that electricity transmission and distribution losses average about 5% of the electricity that is transmitted and distributed annually in the United States.1
EIA has estimates for total annual losses related to electricity transmission and distribution (T&D) and other losses in the State Electricity Profiles. Data for each state and for the entire United States are in Table 10: Supply and Disposition of Electricity of each profile. To find the table, scroll down a Profile page to find the link under Table 1 for Full data tables 1-12. In the file, see the worksheet 10 Source-Disposition, and see the row for estimated losses in the table.
To calculate T&D losses as a percentage, divide estimated losses by the result of total disposition minus direct use. Direct use electricity is the electricity generated mainly at non-utility facilities and that is not put onto the electricity transmission and distribution grid, and therefore does not contribute to T&D losses.
1Average of annual losses in 2011 through 2015. Estimated losses in 2015 for the entire United States were about 4.7%.

Last updated: February 16, 2017

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