The US Energy Information Administration reports that total US electricity sales have declined in four of the past five years, with that trend expected to continue in 2013. The EIA’s Monthly Review says the only year-over-year rise in electricity use since 2007 occurred in 2010, at the end of the recession.
The flattening of total electricity sales has been driven by declining sales in the industrial sector and flat sales in the residential and commercial building sectors, despite growth in the number of households and commercial building space.
Residential: Electricity sales to the residential sector accounted for 36 percent of all electricity use in 2012, up from 33 percent in 2000.
Commercial: Sales of power to commercial buildings have increased about 1percent annually since 2000 and accounted for 35 percent of electricity use in 2012.
Industrial: Total industrial electricity sales decreased by 9 percent between 2000 and 2012, and the sector’s share of total electricity usage fell from 30 percent to 26 percent in that period. Efficiency improvements in production processes have contributed to declining energy sales. However, since 2010 this trend has been offset by increasing production and exports, driven by low natural gas prices, among other factors.
Distributed generation: Growth in solar photovoltaic capacity and other types of distributed generation is another factor contributing to the recent slower growth in electricity sales in the residential and commercial sectors.