Electric utilities get no jolt from improving economy, sales continue weak

|By:, SA News Editor

Americans are plugging in more gadgets than ever, and the U.S. unemployment rate has been improving, but these trends have provided little help for the country's electric utilities.

U.S. electricity sales look anemic for the seventh year in a row, prompting some executives to abandon their century-old assumption that electricity use tracks overall economic conditions, according to a WSJ analysis.

The diverging trends could pose a problem for utility companies, which often need to expand sales volume yearly just to maintain their expensive equipment.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration says it no longer foresees any sustained period in which electricity sales will keep pace with economic growth.

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