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This Low Bills Thing

You probably heard Friday’s news on the Gross Domestic Product. You probably didn’t drill down for the details on the GDP’s consumption data. No matter. We did. Here’s what we found.

Electric bills were 1.36 percent of consumption expenditures in the second quarter this year. In the sixty years of data, since 1959, second quarter electric bills have never been a lower percent of consumption expenditures.

Though a tie for the record low should be noted. The electric bills percent was 1.36 percent in both the second quarter this year and the second quarter last year.

Only one other year since 1959 has had an electric bills percent less than 1.42 percent. And that was in the second quarter of 2016, when the electric bills percent was 1.39.

Do you see the trend? 2017 and 2018 are tied for the record low. And 2016 had the next lowest electric bills percent. Clearly, we’ve never experienced such low electric bills compared to overall expenditures, as in the last three years.

Indeed, the electric bills percent in the second quarter of 2015 was relatively low as well, at 1.44 percent. So, this low bills thing has been going on for four years.

The second quarter electric bills percent has been below 1.45 percent in just seven of the eighty years since 1959. Four of these seven years have been 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018.

1.36 percent is really good for the American consumer. To illustrate this, the record high for the second quarter electric bills percent was in 1981. That year, electric bills were as high as 2.29 percent of consumption expenditures.


Work at a utility? Or a large concern of another type? We’re phasing out individual subscriptions to Public Utilities Fortnightly at any organization with over a hundred employees. But, no worries. We’ll make it easy and economical for your company to sign up for a membership to cover any employee.

Steve Mitnick, Editor-in-Chief, Public Utilities Fortnightly, and President, Lines Up, Inc.
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