US power sales in 2017 fell by greatest amount since recession

The reduction in usage has been attributed to cooler weather in the summer resulting in lower use of air conditioning and electricity

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By Jonny Bairstow

Electricity sales in the US fell last year by the greatest amount since the economic recession in 2009.

The US Energy Information Administration (EIA) says the 2% year-on-year fall of 80 billion kWh reflected lower sales in the residential, commercial and industrial sectors.

It added the reduction in usage was largely attributable to cooler weather in the summer resulting in lower use of air conditioning and electricity.

Cooling degree days, an indicator of cooling-related energy demand, were 9% lower in 2017 compared with 2016 levels, indicating milder weather and less demand for air conditioning.

Although fuels other than electricity such as natural gas, heating oil and propane can be used to generate heat, electricity use also increases in colder weather.

Heating degree days, an indicator of heating-related energy demand, were 1% lower in 2017 than in 2016.

Through 2017, the residential sector bought the most electricity from the grid, accounting for slightly more than 37% of the total, with commercial sector electricity retail sales making up slightly less than 37% and the industrial sector making up around a quarter.