As US Electricity Use Stalls, Utilities Scramble
Household use to expand just 0.7% per year: feds
By Matt Cantor, Newser User
Posted Jan 3, 2013 6:12 AM CST
In this Aug. 25, 2011 file photo, an attorney holds an Apple iPad, left, and a Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1.   (AP Photo/dapd, Sascha Schuermann, File)

(Newser) – Sure, you're attached at the hip to your iPad and like to crank your air conditioner, but electricity guzzling isn't what it used to be in the US. In the middle of the 20th century, electricity use grew about 8% yearly; now, it's set to expand just 0.6% per year for industry and 0.7% per year for homes through 2040, according to federal assessments. Electricity use was once considered a good measure of economic growth—but perhaps not so anymore, particularly as manufacturers build devices that use less energy, the Wall Street Journal notes.

That leaves utility companies in a bind as they rush to reorganize their finances. Fearing a credit downgrade, Exelon is cutting spending on nuclear and renewable projects by some $1 billion each. And a number of companies are turning their focus from their unregulated operations to their more-profitable regulated efforts, like power transmission. Among the new strategies: investment in new high-voltage power lines, encouraged by regulators as a means of revamping the US power grid. "They don't see any light at the end of the tunnel and are making adjustments," says a consultant.

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Showing 3 of 38 comments
Jan 3, 2013 7:31 PM CST
My central AC system uses around 3kwh to run for 1 hour. I use about the same for an entire year of iPad use.
Jan 3, 2013 6:14 PM CST
Aw. Those poor billionaires...
Jan 3, 2013 4:11 PM CST
Do you hear that? That is the start of the end of the current trend of crappy energy sources. By 2040 there should be no power plants or profits like there are today. It made sense to pay these people a lot to run dangerous reactors and mine coal. But now the technology is ahead of their business model. There are so many free and cheap sources of energy. There is no way they can hold that shit back forever.