Power demand is typically low in April because it is not hot enough to need air conditioners and not cold or dark enough to need evening lights and space heating. This past April’s electricity demand was the lowest monthly demand the U.S. has seen in three years, according to Genscape’s “Generation Fuel Monitor Report.”
April 2013 was much cooler than 2012 when cooling load was ramping up across the South and Central U.S. Demand was down 8 percent from March and 1 percent from the same month in 2012. Year-to-date demand is up 1 percent from 2012.
Coal power generation continues to take back market share from gas that had been lost in 2012. Henry Hub prices are up more than 100 percent year on year while Genscape estimates delivered coal costs have increased 5 percent. As a result, April coal consumption on an megawatt-hour basis was up 15 percent vs. 2012 while natural gas generation was down 19 percent. Year-to-date coal continues its strong run, up 13 percent, while natural gas power generation lags last year’s record by 11 percent.