American consumers have shown they're capable of reducing their electricity usage.
Photo by Fotolia/Aleksandr Ugorenkov
The first decline in summer electricity usage since World War II occurred last year, reports the Edison Electric Institute. The organization says that peak electrical demand during 1982's warm season fell 2.7% below the previous summer's, a development that left the nation's utilities with the biggest surplus generating capacity since the Depression; the North American Electric Reliability Council had earlier predicted a 2.3% increase for the same period. Meanwhile, the industry continues to build new plants (and to pass the costs on to consumers), all the while justifying the construction by saying that it's necessary to meet projected demand.