Electricity generation reached a record high level in the U.S. last year as residential, commercial sales hit an all-time high in the country, the U.S.' Energy Information Administration (EIA) said in a statement on Wednesday.
The U.S.' net electricity generation increased by 4 percent in 2018 year on year, reaching a record high of 4,178 million megawatt-hours (MWh), according to the EIA’s Electric Power Monthly report.
"Last year was the first time total utility-scale generation surpassed the pre-recession peak of 4,157 million MWh set in 2007," the statement said.
"The increased demand for electricity in 2018 -- including record demand in the commercial and residential sectors -- is largely attributable to cold winters and a hot summer," it added.
The EIA said population-weighted cooling degree days, which are an indicator of warm weather and air conditioning demand, reached a record high in 2018.
Heating degree days, an indicator of cold weather and space heating demand, were also higher in 2018 than in recent years.
Cooling degree days have a greater influence on overall electricity generation than heating degree days, according to the administration.
Around 87 percent of American households cool their homes in the summer with air conditioning, and approximately 35 percent of homes in the country use electricity as their primary heating source during the winter.
"The hot summer and relatively cold winter months of 2018 contributed to increased retail electricity sales to the sector, up 6 percent from the previous year," the statement said.
In the U.S., the weather also affects electricity use in commercial buildings, but to a lesser degree, the EIA said, adding that electricity sales to the commercial sector last year increased 2 percent, compared to 2017.
Electricity sales to the residential and commercial sectors are expected to grow more slowly at 0.4 percent and 0.5 percent, respectively, in the following years, according to the administration.
The slow growth will be as a result of improvements in technology and energy efficiency standards, which will keep electricity consumption growth at a moderate growth, it added.
By Ovunc Kutlu