Electricity prices flat, market shows volatility

Issue 10 and Volume 100.

Electricity prices flat, market shows volatility

U.S. commercial and industrial electricity rates fell a mild 0.30 percent from April 1995 to April 1996, versus a national inflation rate of 2.8 percent, according to a new survey from National Utility Service Inc. (NUS) “The overall average is a bit misleading,” said Craig Thalmann, NUS vice president of sales and marketing. “Of the 24 utilities surveyed, there were 11 increases, 11 decreases and three utilities with no change. There is tremendous volatility in this market. Pennsylvania Power & Light cut its rates on one tariff 20.69 percent, for example.”

Louisiana Power & Light`s costs increased by 14.73 percent due to a sharp rise in fuel charges, the largest such price hike noted in the survey. NUS found Long Island Lighting Co.`s 12.75 cents/kWh rates the highest, followed by Con Edison`s 11.63 cents/kWh. Jersey Central Power & Light had the third highest U.S. rate at 9.74 cents/kWh, followed by Southern California Edison`s 9.67 cents/kWh and Niagara Mohawk`s 9.18 cents/kWh.

The United States was the eighth most expensive electricity market during the survey period, moving up from the ninth most expensive in the 1994-95 survey, despite falling rates. The U.S. average was 7.07 cents/kWh. Spain`s rates were the highest at 10.66 cents/kWh, following a restructuring in Germany which took the republic out of the number one spot. German rates fell from 11.25 cents/kWh to 10.22 cents/kWh. South Africa sported the least expensive rates of the 16 developed nations surveyed, at 3.96 cents/kWh, closely followed by Canada at 4.26 cents/kWh.