Natural gas consumption by U.S. power generation in July, the second hottest July on record, was up 21% from levels in July 2005 to 33.8 Bcf/d, while coal consumption from power generation rose 0.5% to 97.9 million short tons and petroleum liquids consumption from generation plummeted 53% to 297,000 bbl/d from 631,000 bbl/d in July 2005, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) said in its latest Monthly Flash Estimates of Electric Power Data.

The price difference between natural gas and petroleum was the major contributor to the change in consumption of those two fuels. Overall, total generation in July was up 4.3% to 416 million MWh compared to 399 million MWh in July 2005.

“The increase in net generation was influenced by continued economic growth and near record-breaking hot July weather,” EIA said. “The index of industrial production increased 0.4% between June 2006 and July 2006 and was 5.2% higher comparing July 2006 to July 2005.”

EIA said the first seven months of the year were the warmest since record keeping began in 1895. Year-to-date cooling degree days were 9.1% higher than in 2005. Year-to-date generation as of July was up 1.3% to 2,351 billion kWh, with the following breakdown: natural gas-fired generation, up 8.3% to 459 billion kWh; petroleum liquids generation, down 53% to 24.7 billion kWh; nuclear, up 2.7% to 459 billion kWh; coal-fired generation, down 1.2% to 1,142 billion kWh; and hydropower, up 11.8% to 188 billion kWh.

Year-to-date retail power sales as of July were up 1.2% while the average retail price of power was up 11.1%. For more from the Monthly Flash Estimates go to

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