Energy Use Down, but Increase Expected

With the COVID-19 pandemic quarantining the population, canceling events and eliminating activities, U.S. energy consumption dropped by 7% last year, compared to 2019, according to the Energy Information Administration.

That is the largest annual drop since EIA started collecting this type of data in 1949 and an 11-year low in the kilowatt-hour demand for power.

The largest drops in energy use were in the commercial and industrial sectors where closed businesses and lower demand for some products saw energy use decline by up to 11%. The residential side, which saw people spending more time in their homes, only saw a 1% drop in use. Warmer weather did mean less fuel consumption for winter heating in 2020.

However, now that coronavirus lockdowns are being eased, events are being planned and the population is moving around more, energy consumption is expected to increase. EIA has projected a 2.1% increase in 2021. Part of that increase is projected to come from residential customers who continue to work from home.