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PUF CPI Gap was a positive 1.8 percent

On November 14, the U.S. Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics published its Consumer Price Index data for October. The overall CPI was up 2.5 percent during the twelve months through October 2018. The CPI for electricity was up too during the period, though much less, 0.7 percent.

The PUF CPI Gap – defined as the difference between the two CPI’s — was therefore a positive 1.8 percent. This indicates that the average price nationally that consumers pay for electric service (electric rates) decreased in real or inflation-adjusted terms.

However, the PUF CPI Gap is less positive than in the prior month of September 2018, when it was as large as 3.5 percent. Why the big change? Higher natural gas prices are affecting northeast and midwest electric rates.

Let’s drill down regionally. The PUF CPI Gap in October was a positive 3.0 percent in the south and a positive 2.7 percent in the west. That’s great for consumers. But it was only a positive 1.0 percent in the midwest. And the PUF CPI Gap was actually a negative 2.0 percent in the northeast. The northeast’s dependence on natural gas fired generation is evident in these numbers.

Incidentally, if you’re able, attend the Copper Development Association’s electrical vehicle summit, “EVs: Navigating the Road Ahead.” You can easily register for this free summit at CopperEnergySummit.org. It’ll take place December 11 at the National Press Club in D.C.

The half-day summit will feature two one-hour education panels: Advancing Green Energy Technology and Innovations in the EV Market. Speakers include representatives of BMW Group, Alliance to Save Energy, Atlantic Council Global Energy Center, Edison Electric Institute, Southern Company, Energy Storage Association and more.

CDA’s Zolaikha Strong: “As we advance toward a green energy revolution, copper is powering EVs and fueling our drive to sustainability.”


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