Electricity Demand Drops as Coronavirus Cuts Use by Business

The demand for electricity dropped to a 16-year low the first week of April as offices shuttered and manufacturing slowed or stopped as the novel coronavirus COVID-19 spread across the country, according to the Edison Electric Institute.

Mild weather throughout the country had already contributed to lower heating demands. But, as the virus spread, electricity output fell further to 64,896 gigawatt-hours, down 5.7% from the same week in April 2019. That was the lowest demand since April 2004.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration projects the country’s virus-caused economic slowdown and stay-at-home orders to keep electricity consumption low for the coming months. Currently, EIA is predicting that U.S. power consumption will be down about 3% in 2020, compared to 2019.