We’ve all focused on how much less gas Americans are buying since the $4 price spike. But what about electricity?
The Wall Street Journal, quoting our own Xcel Energy execs, says we’re using less of that, too — 3 percent less August through September; other utilites report bigger drops.
The plunge is apparently so unexpected — 1 to 2 percent growth is the locked-in norm — that it could screw up utilities’ capital investment plans.
That’s a sour note to an otherwise amazing development. We simply have to use less energy in this country, for environmental, financial and security reasons. We can find a way to go green even as we use less.
I know what you’re thinking: the drop is due to foreclosures. Nope, says Xcel CEO Dick Kelly. Other industry leaders say the recession isn’t the reason, either.
The story suggests conservation campaigns have taken hold, but doesn’t sound confident about it. Some utilities are even surveying customers to find out what’s up.
The coming of the electric car may solve any consumption “problems” (while of course, lowering oil imports). Most of what I’ve read suggests such vehicles won’t raise consumption in the beginning, since they’ll suck off the grid at night, when plants that must run 24 hours a day generate underutilized power.
By the way, this happened on a day when Norm Coleman went to the Monticello nuke plant touting a comprehensive energy solution.