Industrial slowdown hurts power demand

The US industrial sector's electricity consumption declined 4% to 82 billion kw-hr in February, compared to the same period a year ago, reflecting the slowdown in the US economy, a government agency said. Meanwhile, rising prices depressed natural gas consumption and boosted oil use at electric generating plants, the Energy Information Administration reported.

Jul 6th, 2001


By the OGJ Online Staff

HOUSTON, July 6 -- The US industrial sector's electricity consumption declined 4% to 82 billion kw-hr in February, compared to the same period a year ago, reflecting the slowdown in the US economy, a government agency said.

Meanwhile, rising prices depressed natural gas consumption and boosted oil use at electric generating plants this past winter, the Energy Information Administration reported.

January receipts of petroleum totaled 17 million barrels, up 14 million barrels from the level reported in January 2000. The sale and reclassification of plants as nonutility units reduced reported fuel oil receipts over the past year, EIA said, with the increase in petroleum receipts due to utilities substituting less expensive fuel oil for gas.

In addition, the agency said extreme cold weather over much of the nation during December 2000 and January 2001 required some electric utilities to bring additional petroleum-fired capacity on line. The average delivered cost of fuel oil was $4.71/MMbtu, up from $3.78/MMbtu reported in January 2000.

Gas receipts totaled 135 bcf, down from 170 bcf reported in January 2000. The average cost of gas delivered to electric utilities was $9.21/MMbtu, compared to $2.71/MMbtu reported in January 2000.

EIA said this is the highest average monthly price of gas reported by electric utilities since data collection began in 1972.

As with coal and petroleum, the agency said, the sale and reclassification of electric plants is having a large effect on gas receipt data presented at the New England, mid-Atlantic, and Pacific contiguous census divisions, as well as at the national level.

While industrial consumption was down, electricity sales to the residential sector were up 3% to 101 billion kw-hr in February from the year earlier period and electricity sales to the commercial sector rose 2% to 80 billion kw-hr, the EIA said in a monthly report.

Total US net generation of electricity was 286 billion kw-hr in February 2001, 1% below the amount reported in February 2000. Electric utilities generated 203 billion kw-hr or 71% of the total in February 2001, and nonutility power producers generated 84 billion kw-hr or 29% of total generation.

During the first 2 months of the year, total US net generation of electricity was 620 billion kw-hr, 1% higher than the amount reported during the corresponding period in 2000. Some 53% of the generation was produced by coal-fired plants, 21% from nuclear, 13% from gas, 6% from hydro, 5% from petroleum, and 2% from renewables.

For the first 2 months of 2001, nonutility generation was up 60% to 177 billion kw-hr, compared to the same period in 2000. Meanwhile, utility generation fell 12% to 442.9 billion kw-hr from 503.3 kw-hr in the same period 1 year ago.

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