"42.7% of all statistics are made up on the spot." -- Steven Wright
We here at APPA would prefer to rely on real statistics verified by qualified individuals. Most of the data used to buttress our statistical reports comes from the Energy Information Administration (EIA), specifically the Form EIA-861. This mandatory survey is completed by all retail electric utilities in the United States and the territories. In fact, the deadline for completing the survey containing data for Calendar Year 2011 is April 30, so if your utility has not completed this survey yet stop reading this blog and go finish it up before you get in trouble.
The EIA-861 collects information regarding sales, revenue, generation, customers served, and other data regarding day-to-day utility functions. Respondents must also include any green pricing, net metering, demand response, and advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) data, if available. Other EIA forms include the EIA-923, which collects information about generation, and the EIA-860, which covers capacity data in detail. All of the databases related to these and other forms are publicly available at the EIA website, though it takes a few months for EIA to disseminate the information it gathers on these surveys. EIA also publishes reports based on the data it collects, and they are available on the EIA website as well. This is a wonderful clearinghouse of valuable information that provides insight into the state of the electric power industry. I advise you to take a look at the EIA website when you have an opportunity.
Another source of valuable information is APPA's own Electric Power Statistics page. It includes links to various statistical reports and tables. Included on this page are links to the reports on new generating capacity, referenced in my previous blog post, as well as the Revenue per Kilowatt-hour report for 2010. From this page you can also access the "Electric Utility Statistics" section of APPA's Public Power Annual Directory & Statistical Report. (You can also visit this page directly here.) The summary tables offer a glimpse of the electric power sector, and include information on both the entire electricity sector generally and public power specifically. The tables on this page have all been updated to incorporate 2010 data, so you’ll have a chance to view these tables before the paper copy of the Directory is published and mailed to you.
The first few sets of tables in the Directory are titled “U.S. Electric Utility Industry Statistics.” (Here is the PDF.) The tables present a broad view of the electric industry, and puts the size and scope of our industry into some perspective. For example, the first table relates the total number of electricity providers by type, and it shows that publicly owned utilities make-up nearly 62 percent (2,006 out of 3,251) of all electricity providers. Meanwhile, the next table shows that publicly owned utilities serve 14.5 percent of all electricity customers, indicating that many publicly owned utilities are fairly small, especially when compared to investor-owned utilities (IOUs).
Of course publicly owned utilities come in many shapes and sizes, and the Top 100 Charts – categorized by electric customers served, electric revenues, megawatt-hour sales, and generation – present the largest publicly owned systems. Another chart details the distribution of public power utilities by customer and revenue classes. Other tables, namely Public Power Data by State and Residential Customers Served by Public Power Utilities, give some sense of the reach of public power in each of the 50 states.
The Directory also includes reports that demonstrate the benefits of public power. For example, the Public Power Costs Less section evaluates average electric rates and shows that, on average, residential customers of publicly owned utilities pay rates that are 13 percent lower than those paid by residential customers in IOU service territories. This section has undergone a slight change from years past, as formerly APPA just reported rates for bundled sales. The number of customers participating in retail choice programs in states where that option is available has inched up over the years, and unbundled sales accounted for just over ten percent of total sales to consumers in 2010. Therefore APPA calculated rates that include both bundled (full-service) and unbundled sales.
There is much more information available on the Electric Power Statistics page and in the Directory tables, and I would again encourage you to take a glance. You don’t have to be a number cruncher to appreciate the wealth of information that is available regarding our industry.
If you'd like to learn more about APPA's statistical reports, there will be a webinar on Thursday, June 7 at 2:00. It is free and open to all members. More information about the webinar is available at APPA's website.