Energy efficiency shrinks Midwest power sales
- Energy efficiency is cutting into power sales in the Midwest with the region's grid operator predicting a 0.75% annual decrease in sales until 2017, down from a previous 1% yearly growth rate estimate.
- The forecast is no longer related to the recession and is reflected in forecasts by utility companies like Xcel Energy and Exelon.
- The trend will keep power prices low and put pressure on merchant generators, observers say.
- But in Ohio, groups opposed to the state's efficiency rules have issued a study they claim shows efficiency has high costs and little benefit.
For several years after the recession, many utilities have been waiting for their sales to rebound to pre-recession levels. However, state efficiency policies and federal efficiency standards have been doing exactly what they were designed to do: reduce electric use. Another wave of federal standards is coming later this year, which will take yet another bite out of potential electric sales.