Americans will use more electricity this summer than last, and pay more, according to federal energy officials.
In its annual
Summer Fuels Outlook, issued April 10, the Energy Information Administration said the typical U.S. residential customer will use an average of 1,055 kilowatt-hours of electricity per month during the summer electricity generation period of June through August. That's up about 1 percent from the 2017 season "as a result of warmer forecast temperatures," EIA said.
"Compared with last summer, this summer's temperatures are forecast to be warmer throughout the eastern area of the country but milder in the western states. Summer-over-summer changes in average household electricity usage range from 6 percent less consumption in the Pacific states to 5 percent more consumption in New England," the report said.
EIA expects the average residential electricity price this summer will be 2.3 percent higher than last summer, primarily as a result of higher generation fuel costs. "Retail electricity rates are also rising as utilities increase their investment in transmission infrastructure," the report said. And that means consumers will be digging deeper.
"EIA forecasts the typical U.S. residential electricity bill will average $142 per month this summer, which is 3.4 percent more than last summer," the report said, noting that bills vary throughout the country, depending on the need for air conditioning.
Natural gas, which EIA said "fuels the largest share of generation by the electric power sector," will account for 36 percent of total U.S. generation this summer, up from 34 percent in summer 2017. EIA sees natural gas prices being "relatively similar this summer compared with last year."
Coal-based plants are forecast to supply 30 percent of this summer's generation, down from 32 percent, while nuclear remains level at 19 percent.
For Americans looking forward to a summer road trip, filling the tank will be way more expensive during this summer's gasoline season, which runs April through September.
"EIA expects the retail price of regular-grade gasoline will average $2.74 per gallon during summer 2018, up from an average of $2.41/gallon last summer," the report said. It said the primary culprit is "Brent crude oil prices, which are expected to average $12 per barrel higher than during last summer."