Document 36: Cost of Electricity: Government Figures Show It to Be the One Important Commodity to Decrease in Price,” Electrical World 81, no 18, may 5, 1923, page 1052:


THE Bureau of Labor's last quar­terly statistics on the changes in the cost of living in the United States as compared with basic prices in 1918 carry an interesting footnote. Hitherto "fuel and light" have been lumped to­gether in the table and have shown a very large increase, comparable to that in other staple commodities. In the statistics just issued, which include the figures for March, 1923, this manifest injustice to the producers and dis­tributors of electrical energy is rem­edied by a line added after the total and showing an actual decrease In the price of energy as compared with December, 1914. "Fuel and light" combined show an increase in the last quarter of 86.2 per cent, compared with 42 per cent for food and 74.4 per cent for clothing, but electricity not only shows a decrease of 2.4 per cent but has shown an increase only once in the last six years—one of 1.2 in December. 1920.


The information contained in the Bureau of Labor's statistics, which are a summarization of the figures for thirty-two cities computed on a 1913 basis, is derived from actual prices which have been obtained from mer­chants and dealers for each of the periods named.