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Customer Count and Solar Up, Coal Down

I. Residential customer growth for the nation’s electric utilities has more than doubled in the last three years

From Q1 2008 to Q1 2015, a period of twenty-eight quarters, utilities’ residential customer count increased by 4.4 million nationally. This slow growth was at the compounded annual rate of a half percent.

From Q1 2015 to Q2 2018, a period of thirteen quarters, utilities’ residential customer count increased by 4.6 million nationally. This much faster growth was at the compounded annual rate of one and a tenth percent.

Perhaps the record high level of residential sales in 2018 to date is due in part to this much faster customer count growth.

II. Coal’s share has fallen to around a quarter of the grid’s electricity generation

This July, coal’s share was 28.2 percent nationally. Since 2014, July’s coal share has been 38.8 percent, then 34.7 percent, then 33.1 percent, then 31.9 percent, the latter for last July.

Year to date, coal’s share this year is 27 percent. That’s down from 30 percent last year and 39.6 percent as recently as 2014.

In April of this year, coal’s share fell to below a quarter for the first time. It was 24.3 percent.

III. Grid’s solar generation has surged

Year to date, the grid’s solar generation is up 28.4 percent from the same period of last year. Solar’s share of all of the grid’s electricity generation is now one and two-thirds percent. At this rate of growth, solar’s share should exceed two percent next year.


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Steve Mitnick, Editor-in-Chief, Public Utilities Fortnightly, and President, Lines Up, Inc.
E-mail me: mitnick@fortnightly.com