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US retail power sales likely to dip in 2017 to 10.12 billion kWh per day

Total retail power sales in the United States are expected to dip on the year, easing from 10.14 billion kWh per day in 2016 to 10.12 billion kWh per day this year before rising to 10.26 billion kWh in 2018, according to the latest "Short-Term Energy Outlook" released June 6 by the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Retail residential sales of electricity are likely to slide from 3.85 billion kWh per day in 2016 to 3.76 billion kWh per day in 2017 before recovering to 3.86 billion kWh per day in 2018.

Electricity sales to the commercial sector are seen coming in at 3.71 billion kWh per day in 2016, 3.73 billion kWh per day this year and 3.75 billion kWh per day in 2018. Retail industrial power sales are expected to rise from 2.56 billion kWh per day in 2016 to 2.61 billion kWh per day this year and 2.63 billion kWh per day in 2018.

Total U.S. electricity generation from utility-scale power plants averaged 11,150 GWh per day in 2016, with warmer-than-normal temperatures in the first quarter of this year likely to have led to a 1.2% drop in electricity generation during that time of the year.

Temperatures that are projected to run below normal this summer should result in a year-on-year decline of 3.3% in electricity generation in the third quarter of this year. Total forecast generation is anticipated to fall by 1.2% in 2017 and then rebound by 1.6% in 2018, the EIA said.

As a result of rising natural gas prices, the agency sees the share of total utility-scale electricity generation from natural gas falling from an average of 34% in 2016 to an average below 32% this year and in 2018.

"Coal's forecast generation share rises from 30% in 2016 to 31% in 2017 and 2018. Non-hydropower renewables are forecast to provide 9% of electricity generation in 2017 and nearly 10% in 2018. The generation share of hydropower is forecast to be nearly 8% in 2017 and 7% in 2018. The nuclear share of generation remains just under 20% in both 2017 and 2018," the EIA said.

The EIA said the average U.S. residential electricity price was 12.55 cents per kWh in 2016 and is expected to increase to an average of 13.04 cents per kWh in 2017 and an average of 13.48 cents per kWh in 2018.

Energy-related carbon dioxide emissions called to drop 0.7% this year

In 2016, energy-related carbon dioxide emissions fell by 1.7% and are expected to drop by another 0.7% in 2017 before rising by 2.2% in 2018, depending upon changes in the weather, the economy and energy prices, the EIA also reported in the June 6 outlook.