Barbra Streisand's Happy Days

Happy days are here again, the skies above are clear again

So let’s sing a song of cheer again, happy days are here again.

Altogether shout it now, there’s no one who can doubt it now

So let’s tell the world about it now, happy days are here again.

Indeed Barbra. Singing the song made famous by Franklin Roosevelt’s 1932 presidential campaign (two years after FDR authored his PUF article).

Earlier this week, the Commerce Department released detailed data on Americans’ consumer expenditures in March. It’s a key component of the first quarter’s Gross Domestic Product.

Number-crunching by yours truly found that electric bills in the first quarter were just 1.25 percent of all consumer expenditures.

One and a quarter percent! Happy days!

This percent has never been lower. By a lot. The previous record, 1.34 percent, was set in the first quarter of last year.

The electric bills percent has been below 1.40 percent in just six of the two hundred thirty-three quarters since the first quarter of 1959. That’s when the Commerce Department started this data series. Four years before Barbra Streisand recorded Happy Days Are Here Again. And nine years before her best actress performance in Funny Girl.

Remarkably, five of these six low electric bill quarters have taken place since the fourth quarter of 2015. And, as remarkably, all but one of the quarters since then have been below 1.40 percent.

Last chance for you to peer into the future and predict where rates and bills and everything else in our industry is going in the coming years. Take our survey on electricity's future. Just fifteen questions. As Barbra sang, on a clear day you can see forever. (Available through May 5)

Steve Mitnick, Editor-in-Chief, Public Utilities Fortnightly
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