Report: U.S. electricity prices rose sharply in October

HOUSTON, Texas, Feb. 2, 2001à‚–The Energy Information Administration reported electricity prices rose sharply in October 2000, compared to the comparable 1999 period.

The monthly government survey found the average price of electricity sold in October 2000 was 6.79 cents/kw-hr, up 9 cents from October 1999. Average residential rates rose 12 cents/kw-hr, average commercial rates rose 3 cents, and average industrial rates were up 11 cents/kw-hr between October 2000 and October 1999.

Total U.S. net generation of electricity was 3,187 billion kw-hr during the first 10 months of 2000, up 3% the corresponding period in 1999, the agency reported.

More than halfà‚–51%à‚–of the generation was produced by coal-fired plants in the first 10 months of 2000, compared to 55% in 1999. This was followed by 20% from nuclear, compared to 24% in the year earlier period; and 17% from gas, compared to 27% in 1999 Hydroelectric accounted for 7% in 2000, petroleum for 3%, and renewables for 2%.

In October, total U.S. net generation of electricity was also up 3% to 302 billion kw-hr from October 1999. Electric utilities generated 228 billion kw-hr or 75% of the total, while nonutility power producers generated 74 billion kw-hr or 25% of total generation.

At utilities, fossil fuelsà‚–primarily coalà‚–accounted for 72% of net generation; followed by nuclear, 22%; and 7% from renewable resources, including hydro. At nonutilities, fossil fuelsà‚–primarily gasà‚–accounted for 80% of total generation, including 11% from renewables, including hydro; and 8% from nuclear.

October sales up 4%
Sales of electricity to ultimate U.S. consumers totaled 275 billion kw-hr, a 4% increase over the amount reported in October 1999. Residential sales totaled 88 billion kw-hr, a 6% increase over the amount reported in October 1999.

Retail sales of electricity to the commercial and industrial sectors rose 4% and 1%, respectively, over October 1999.

September 2000 coal sales to electric utilities totaled 64 million short tons, down 13 million short tons from September 1999. The decrease was due primarily to the sale and reclassification of utility plants as nonutility plants, the government agency said.

Plants recently reclassified as nonutility and no longer required to report fuel receipts to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission include those operated by Atlantic City Electric Co., Baltimore Gas & Electric Co., Cajun Electric Power Cooperative, Duquesne Light Co., Pennsylvania Power & Light Co., Delmarva Power & Light Co., Potomac Edison Co., and Public Service Electric & Gas of New Jersey.

Gas sales totaled 236 bcf, down from 262 Bcf reported in September 1999. The average cost of gas delivered to electric utilities was $4.86/MMbtu, up from $2.95/MMbtu reported in September 1999.

EIA reported sale and reclassification of electric plants is having a large effect on gas receipt data in New England, Mid-Atlantic, and Pacific census divisions, as well as at the national level.

Petroleum sales fell to 9 million barrels, down 1 million barrels from September 1999. While the sale and reclassification of plants have reduced fuel oil receipts, the EIA attributed a portion of this decrease to the increase in the cost of fuel oil over the past year.

The average delivered cost of fuel oil in September 2000 was $4.68/MMbtu, up from $3.12/MMbtu reported in September 1999.

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