The region Is doing more, and more efficiently

The efficiency of electricity use in the Northwest is improving – we are doing more with our power and using less to do it. And as an added bonus, the investments that utilities are making in energy efficiency are not having a major effect on electricity rates.

Reports by electric utilities in the Northwest to the U.S. Department of Energy for the years 2007 through 2013 show that energy efficiency, expressed as improvements in economic output per unit of energy, improved 6 percent in Oregon, 4 percent in Idaho, 3 percent in Washington, and 2 percent in Montana for an overall regional improvement of 4 percent during that period.

As part of its power planning, the Council tracks changes in the regional economy, as well as electricity sales and revenues. The current analysis shows that:

  • Electricity use by residential and commercial users is decreasing while industrial use is increasing
  • Regional residential electric bills are 16 percent lower than the national average
  • After adjusting for inflation, public utility electricity rates declined by 0.4 percent per year while investor owned utility rates increased 3 percent
  • Total revenues to Northwest electric utilities grew an inflation-adjusted 1.7 percent per year
  • Gross state product, another measure of economic activity, increased 2.2 percent per year
  • Employment is recovering, but not back to pre-2008 (pre-recession) levels (approximately 6.32 million employed in 2008, 6.22 million employed in 2013)