Electricity on the slide
Staff Writer

Staff Artist

The amount of electricity used by the average U.S. household is at its lowest level in a decade. The reversal comes during an unprecedented surge in electronic devices on the market. But at the same time, appliances and light bulbs — by far the biggest energy hogs — are becoming vastly more efficient. In Texas, electricity sales have risen but not at the pace of the state’s rapid increase in population. Electricity use dropping
Per capita home electricity use in the U.S. is at its lowest level since 2001. And the U.S. Energy Information Administration is projecting that number will only decrease in the years ahead.
12,000 kwh 11,500 11,000 10,500 10,000 2000 2014 2013, 2014 estimates

Texas electricity sales lag population boom
With a growing population, Texas residential electricity sales are up more than 15 percent from 2000. But that has not kept pace with the increase in customers.
Percentage change from 2000 25% 20% 15% 10% 5% 0 2000 ’01 ’02 ’03 ’04 ’05 ’06 ’07 ’08 ’09 ’10 ’11 ’12

Number of retail customers Texas residential sales

A more efficient light bulb
Lighting is one of the biggest electricity drains. But under new government regulations, light bulbs have gotten vastly more efficient in recent years. Traditional 60w incandescent bulb Modern Compact fluorescent lamp 21.9 kwh bulb Light-emitting diode bulb $2.63 Annual use Annual cost

How much your appliances are costing you
You might be surprised how much it costs to run a vacuum cleaner. Cost per month (if used for four hours a day)* Coffee maker Washing machine Dryer $6.12 $48.96 $25.92 $16.20 $3.88 $10.44 $1.92 $22.14 $17.57 $16.56

87.6 kwh $10.50

Dishwasher Space heater Computer Refrigerator 36” television

17.5 kwh


Hair dryer Vacuum cleaner

NOTE: Based on four hours of daily use

*Based on average Texas residential electricity cost of 12 cents per kwh

Global power guzzlers
The map shows the 10 countries that are the largest per capita electricity users in the world. By contrast, also shown are some countries at the lower end of the list, including Haiti using only 32 kwh per person. Electric power consumption (kwh per capita) #2 Norway 23,174 kwh

#8 Sweden 14,030 kwh #6 Finland 15,738 kwh #4 Kuwait 16,122 kwh #5 Qatar 15,755 kwh #158 Eritrea 49 kwh

#3 Canada 16,406 kwh #9 U.S. 13,246 kwh

#1 Iceland 52,374 kwh #7 Luxembourg 15,530 kwh

#159 Haiti 32 kwh

#155 Congo 105 kwh

#157 Ethiopia 52 kwh #10 Australia 10,720 kwh

#156 Tanzania 92 kwh

SOURCES: U.S. Energy Information Administration; U.S. Department of Energy; The World Bank

The bottom line
“There are a lot of factors, weather, population shifts, rooftop solar installations. But lighting is the most significant shift. Moving from incandescent bulbs to LEDs and compact fluorescents has made a big difference.” “This is proof the policies developed over the last 13 years have been paying off. In 2001, Texas adopted an energy code for new homes that has saved 20 percent of the energy compared to homes built before the code. The biggest savings has come from the requirement people use double-pane windows. It’s almost impossible to find a new single-pane window in Texas now.” Tom “Smitty” Smith, Public Citizen “The irony is that we’re using more electronic devices than ever. But the improvements to power hogs like clothes dryers and light bulbs seem to far outweigh all those iPads being plugged in.”

Tyson Brown, U.S. Energy Information Administration

James Osborne, staff writer, The Dallas Morning News

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