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Utah residential electricity usage shot up during pandemic

Posted at 11:58 AM, Sep 11, 2020

SALT LAKE CITY — As the COVID-19 pandemic forced more people to work from home, electricity usage in Utah shot up.

The Utah Geological Survey reports residential electricity usage went up by 9-percent in April and a whopping 21-percent in May compared with the averages over the previous five years. The increases came as offices and schools were shut down, and residents began working and studying from home.

On the flip side, commercial electricity usage dropped 13-percent in April and 11-percent in May as companies kept employees from the office.

The Survey also reports how far petroleum demand fell as traveling came to a standstill during the pandemic. Gasoline production for motor vehicles at refineries in Utah, Colorado, Wyoming, Idaho and Montana dropped 43-percent in April before bouncing back to normal production rates in July.

With fewer people flying for work or vacation, jet fuel production dropped 84-percent and has yet to rebound.

Meanwhile, overall oil production in Utah's Uinta Basin crashed from 93,000 barrels a day in March to just 67,500 barrels a day in May, a drop of 27-percent. The Survey projects production will continue to fall to 55,000 barrels a day by fall, reportedly the lowest rate in more than ten years.

Despite Utah businesses slowly reopening and students returning to school, the Survey cautions that the effects of the pandemic will last long after the virus is defeated.

"Utah’s upstream petroleum industry was severely impacted, and the effects of reductions in price, production, and related jobs to Utah’s rural economy will be difficult to manage for many months, if not years."