Electricity sales fall for fifth time in eight years

Published on March 17, 2016 by Daily Energy Insider Reports

The U.S. Energy Information Administration announced this week that total electricity sales fell 1.1 percent in 2015, marking the fifth time in eight years that electricity sales have fallen.

This drop in sales reflects declining sales in the industrial sector and little to no growth in residential and commercial building sectors. The declining rates of electricity demand growth reflect a number of factors, including market saturation, increasing efficiency of electricity-using equipment, a slowing rate of economic growth and the changing composition of the economy. These changes, in turn, have reduced the role of electricity-intensive manufacturing in the United States.

States typically regulate electricity distribution service through public utility commissions. In many cases, these entities have mandated that regulated utilities provide energy efficiency programs for their customers. These mandates may extend to tax rebates for the purchase of energy efficiency equipment, even extending to strict building codes that reduce the amount of energy needed for heating, cooling and other purposes.

Residential electricity sales accounted for 37.7 percent of all energy use in the United States. Commercial electricity accounted for 36.5 percent of all use, while the industrial sector used 25.8 percent.