Article
According to the latest information from the U.S. Energy Information 
Administration, Americans have made a big change in how they use 
electricity – specifically, they’re using less of it, year after year. 
In fact, between 2010 and 2017, average electrical consumption fell 
9.5%, with a similar drop in electricity bills, after accounting for 
inflation.

Exploring More Ways to Bring Power to the People

Chuck Ross
According to the latest information from the U.S. Energy Information Administration, Americans have made a big change in how they use electricity – specifically, they’re using less of it, year after year. In fact, between 2010 and 2017, average electrical consumption fell 9.5%, with a similar drop in electricity bills, after accounting for inflation.

What I find especially interesting about this decrease in electricity consumption is that it’s happened just as the number of electrical devices we regularly use has increased substantially. This means that, even though we might be using less electricity, we’re often facing a shortage of accessible outlets for power. This can be especially true for those who live in homes and apartments built more than 50 years ago, when many rooms were designed with, perhaps, two outlet boxes, at most. This could be a problem for a significant number of us – according to 2017 U.S. Census figures, almost 40% of currently occupied homes were built before 1970.  

Needing an outlet where one doesn’t currently exist might seem like just an annoyance, but it can lead to significant safety problems. Homeowners and renters often deal with this problem with lightweight extension cords, which aren’t a good long-term solution. It’s certainly less expensive than adding more in-wall boxes, but those cords can become hidden under carpets or pressed between furniture legs and the wall. This can create serious fire hazards, due to overheating and frayed wires.

But safely bringing power to where it’s needed doesn’t have to include cutting open a wall and fishing new wire. Instead, multioutlet strip systems can easily add six or more outlets to heavy-use areas like kitchen counters and home offices without any wall cuts required at all. Being able to suggest such products as an option to an in-wall box could make an electrical contractor a hero to cost- – and safety- – conscious customers.
Photo courtesy of Legrand
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