(Reuters) - U.S. electricity demand last week plunged to a near 17-year low as government travel and work restrictions to slow down the spread of the coronavirus led to business closures, according to analysts and the Edison Electric Institute (EEI) trade group.
EEI said power output fell to 64,061 gigawatt hours during the week ended April 18. That was down 4.2% from the same week in 2019 and was the lowest in a week since May 2003. [EEI/]
The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) projected economic slowdown and stay-at-home orders would reduce electricity and natural gas consumption in coming months.
EIA said it expected power sales to the commercial sector to drop by 4.7% in 2020 as many businesses close, while industrial demand will fall by 4.2% as factories shut or reduce output.
Electricity sales to the residential sector, meanwhile, will only decline about 0.8% in 2020, EIA projected, as reduced heating and air conditioning use because of milder winter and summer weather is offset by increased household consumption with many people staying home.
Overall, EIA said it expects total U.S. power consumption to decline by 3% in 2020 before rising almost 1% in 2021.
Reporting by Scott DiSavino; editing by Grant McCool
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