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Top utility companies in US

Published 20 August 2017

The US electric utility industry has seen some of the biggest mergers in recent years, with Duke Energy and Exelon emerging as the major players in the space. In June 2012, Duke Energy merged with Progress Energy, growing its customer base significantly. In the same year, Exelon merged with Constellation Energy, strengthening its presence in the power distribution in the US.

According to a report by the US Energy Information Administration (EIA), the annual growth rate of electricity sales has hovered around 1% or less in the country over the past five years. Compared to economic growth rate in the US in recent years, the demand for electricity has remained consistently lower. 

In the US, coal consumption in the power generation sector has shown a gradual decline in the past few years, as companies increasingly use natural gas and renewable sources as wind and solar. Also, falling capital costs of renewable energy sources have contributed to a drop in the usage of coal as the fuel for power generation.

Here is the list of top utility companies in the US:

Duke Energy: Headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina, Duke Energy is one of the electric power holding companies in the US. The company was started in 1900 as the Catawba Power Company. According to the company website, it provides energy services to nearly 7.4 million customers in the Carolinas, Florida, Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana, and retail natural gas services to over 1.5 million customers in the Carolinas, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee. Its fleet of power plants has a generating capacity of about 50,200MW. In April 2017, it announced plans to invest to $13bn to modernise the North Carolina’s electric system in the US.










Image: Duke Energy launched a 10-year project to strengthen North Carolina's grid. Photo courtesy of Duke Energy Corporation.

Southern Company: Headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, Southern Company is an American gas and electric utility holding company, with 46,000MW of generating capacity and 1,500 billion cubic feet of combined natural gas consumption. According to its website, the company serves 9 million customers through its subsidiaries. Its operations include nearly 200,000 miles of electric transmission and distribution lines and over 80,000 miles of natural gas pipeline. In January, Southern Company subsidiary Southern Power and Renewable Energy Systems Americas (RES) signed an agreement to jointly develop and construct approximately 3,000MW of wind projects in the US.

NextEra Energy: NextEra Energy is one the major energy companies in the US, with headquarters in Juno Beach, Florida. With a generating capacity of approximately 45,900MW, its revenue stood at $16.2bn for the fiscal year 2016. Its subsidiaries include Florida Power & Light (FPL), NextEra Energy Resources (NEER), and FPL FiberNet. FPL claims to the third-largest electric utility in the US, serving nearly 4.9 million customer accounts or an estimated 10 million people across nearly half of the state of Florida. In February this year, FPL unveiled plans to construct new universal solar power plants at eight locations by early 2018. The energy generated from the solar facilities is expected to meet the clean power needs of around 120,000 homes.












Image: Electric power transmission with overhead line. Photo courtesy of Guam~commonswiki/Wikipedia.

Exelon: Headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, Exelon is one of the largest energy providers in the US. With a revenue of $31.4bn, the company in 48 states in the nation. The company’s six utilities deliver electricity and natural gas to nearly 10 million customers in Delaware, the District of Columbia, Illinois, Maryland, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Its subsidiaries include Atlantic City Electric, BGE, ComEd, Delmarva Power, PECO and Pepco. With a generating capacity of over 35,500MW, Exelon produces power from various sources such as nuclear, gas, wind, solar and hydroelectric.

Dominion Energy: Headquartered in Richmond, Virginia, Dominion Energy is one of the largest producers and transporters of energy in the US. Its portfolio includes nearly 26,400MW of electric generation, 66,000 miles of natural gas transmission, gathering, storage and distribution pipeline and 64,200 miles of electric transmission and distribution lines.  

American Electric Power: With headquarters in Columbus, Ohio, US, American Electric Power is one of the largest electric utilities in the US, serving nearly 5.4 million customers in 11 states. The states served by the company include Arkansas, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia. Earning a revenue of $16.4bn, it held assets worth $63.5bn by the end of 2016. With approximately 26,000MW of generating capacity, it owns over 40,000-mile electricity transmission network.











Image: American Electric Power serving nearly 5.4 million customers in 11 states. Photo courtesy of Vichaya Kiatying-Angsulee/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

The Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E): Incorporated in 1905, PG&E is one of the largest combined natural gas and electric energy companies in the US. With headquarters in San Francisco, it is a subsidiary of PG&E Corporation. The company offers natural gas and electric service to approximately 16 million people throughout a 70,000 mile2 service area in northern and central California. It operates 106,681 circuit miles of electric distribution lines and 18,466 circuit miles of interconnected transmission lines.

PPL: It is one of the largest investor-owned firms in the US utility sector, with nearly 8,000MW of regulated generation capacity. Its utilities include Western Power Distribution, Louisville Gas and Electric and Kentucky Utilities, and PPL Electric Utilities. Overall, the company serves over 10 million utility customers in the US and UK. Operating approximately 218,000 miles of electric lines, it delivers 144 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity. It earned a revenue of $7.5bn for the year ended 31 December 2016.