Powering Strong Communities

How has COVID-19 affected the electricity markets?

The Energy Information Administration projected a 6.5% decline in retail sales of electricity to commercial and industrial customers and an expected 5% decline in generation in 2020 in its short-term energy outlook released May 2020. The decline in generation was expected to be most acute among fossil fuel plants.

In June, EIA further forecast that social distancing measures to limit the spread of COVID-19 would lead to the lowest summer demand since 2009.

Here are a few stats on how each region’s load and demand changed, based on reports from the RTOs issued in May and June.


  • 3.7% average weekday load reduction, 1.4% weekend reduction since mid-March
  • Up to 6.7% reduction during weekday morning peak hours
  • $10/MWh decline in energy prices in the day-ahead and real-time markets when shelter-in-place orders were in effect
  • Days with above-normal temperatures saw minimal to no load reductions (compared to pre-COVID conditions) in the evening peak


  • 2-3% lower peaks in early May
  • 3-4% weekly decrease in energy use
  • 6-10% reduction in early morning energy use


  • 2-4.4% decline in weekly load March through May
  • Biggest declines in late March, early May


  • 10.6% lower energy and load in May and 7% lower the first week of June
  • Greatest decline in load between 8-9 am
  • 12% average load reduction March 14-June 8


  • Increase in residential energy use, especially midday
  • 8-9% reduction in overall weekly energy use
  • 15% reduction in the 7 AM hour, sharpest decline in New York City, which saw 20% reduction


  • 10.4% decline in average weekday peak load since March 24
  • Up to 15% reduction in peaks in May
  • 8% average reduction in energy


  • 7-10% reduction in load as of mid-May
  • 5,000 MW reduction or more in hourly demand throughout April


Stats about how covid-19 impacted the RTO markets in spring 2020