By Editors of Power Engineering
After decades of steady growth, residential electricity sales have fallen since 2010, according to a new study by the Energy Information Administration.
Thanks to energy efficiency improvements and economic factors, per capita residential electricity use fell seven percent since 2010. Measured per household, that decline increased to nine percent.
Electricity sales last year were highest per person in Alabama at 6,619 kWh, and lowest in Hawaii at 1,828 kWh. These states were also the highest and lowest in 2010. Though not every state reached its peak in 2010, only nine states exceeded their 2010 levels in any year since then.
Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi had some of the highest per capita electricity use thanks to the use of electricity as the main source of heat. About 60 percent of southern homes heat primarily with electricity compared to 22 percent in the rest of the nation.
Additionally, states with large changes in winter weather between 2010 and 2016 saw large energy declines, including South Carolina, Georgia and Alabama with 25 percent to 30 percent fewer heating degree days in 2016.
Small-scale solar systems in states such as Hawaii and California also contributed to the decline of electric sales in some states. Residential solar now accounts for 15 percent of electricity consumption in Hawaii, six percent in California and three percent in Arizona.
Electricity sales in North Dakota grew by twelve percent from 2008 to 2014 thanks to boosted crude oil production, though the oil bust has caused per capita electricity production in that state to fall from 7,241 kWh in 2014 to 6,149 kWh in 2016.