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U.S. Lowers Estimate for 2012 Electricity Consumption by 0.2%

Dec. 11 (Bloomberg) -- The U.S. cut its estimate of electricity consumption in 2012 by 0.2 percent.

Demand will average 10.46 billion kilowatt-hours a day this year, below the 10.48 billion estimated in November and down 1.6 percent from 2011, as mild weather last winter reduced demand, the department’s Energy Information Administration said in its Short-Term Energy Outlook, released today in Washington. Power sales will average 10.54 billion in 2013.

The government’s forecast for residential demand was unchanged at 3.77 billion kilowatt-hours a day. Industrial use will average 2.69 billion kilowatt-hours a day, down from 2.71 billion. The estimate for commercial consumption was 3.61 billion, compared with 3.62 billion forecast last month.

Electricity generation will average 11.11 billion kilowatt-hours a day this year compared with last month’s estimate of 11.13 billion.

Natural gas will account for 30.4 percent of power-plant output in 2012, down from 30.6 percent estimated in November and up from 24.7 percent in 2011. The share will fall to 27.2 percent in 2013, the report showed.

Coal’s share of 2012 electricity production will be 37.5 percent, compared with 37.3 percent forecast last month and 42.2 percent last year. Consumption will rise to 39.9 percent in 2013, according to the department.

The average residential price for electricity will rise 0.2 cent this year to 11.9 cents per kilowatt-hour, the department said. Prices will average 12.1 cents next year.

To contact the reporter on this story: Christine Buurma in New York at cbuurma1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Dan Stets at dstets@bloomberg.net

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