The latest EIA data confirm that the US is in the midst of an historic decline in electricity usage. Going back to at least 1973 (the start of the EIA data), the US has used more electricity nearly every year and always used more electricity every 5 years.
But those iron trends are breaking. Electricity end use peaked in 2007 and has dropped slightly since then.
Electricity use in 2011 was about 1% less than in 2007 and was a bit lower than in 2010. The once near guaranteed yearly increases in electricity usage are no more. The 2011 drop took place, even though the 2011 GDP was greater than 2010.
Moreover, electricity use in the first 5 months of 2012 was about 2% lower than in the first 5 months of 2011. If that trend holds for the remainder of this year, electricity usage in 2012 will be lower than it was in 2007. And that would be the first time, since the EIA data began in 1973, that electricity usage was lower than 5 years ago. Even the 2009 usage, despite a drop of 4% as a result of the economic collapse, was greater than in 2004.
Indeed, if electricity usage falls 2% during 2012, US electricity usage will be back to about 2005 levels, a remarkable change in the pattern of electricity usage. This remarkable change seems to be a function of much greater efficiency surging through motors, appliances, air conditioning, lighting, and more and slow GDP growth.