Use of natural gas has two seasonal peaks, with consumption patterns predominantly driven by weather. The largest peak occurs during the winter, when cold weather increases the demand for natural gas space heating in the residential and commercial sectors. A second, smaller peak occurs in the summer when air conditioning use increases demand for electric power, an increasing portion of which is provided by natural gas-fired generators.
The electric power sector is the largest consumer of natural gas, having surpassed the industrial sector in 2009. Consumption of natural gas in the power sector peaks in the summer when demand for electricity is highest. A smaller peak occurs during the winter, while the spring and fall seasons have the lowest consumption of natural gas for electric power.
Monthly data for 2010 through 2014 show deliveries of natural gas to the electric power sector averaged 23 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d), ranging from about 30 Bcf/d in the summer peak to 16 Bcf/d in the spring or fall. Increased deliveries of natural gas to the electric power sector have accounted for much of the growth in total natural gas deliveries.