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Electricity Monthly Update

With Data for October 2016  |  Release Date: Dec. 27, 2016  |  Next Release Date: Jan. 25, 2017

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Regional Wholesale Markets: October 2016

The United States has many regional wholesale electricity markets. Below we look at monthly and annual ranges of on-peak, daily wholesale prices at selected pricing locations and daily peak demand for selected electricity systems in the Nation. The range of daily prices and demand data is shown for the report month and for the year ending with the report month.

Prices and demand are shown for six Regional Transmission Operator (RTO) markets: ISO New England (ISO-NE), New York ISO (NYISO), PJM Interconnection (PJM), Midwest ISO (MISO), Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), and two locations in the California ISO (CAISO). Also shown are wholesale prices at trading hubs in Louisiana (into Entergy), Southwest (Palo Verde) and Northwest (Mid-Columbia). In addition to the RTO systems, peak demand is also shown for the Southern Company, Progress Florida, Tucson Electric, and the Bonneville Power Authority (BPA). Refer to the map tabs for the locations of the electricity and natural gas pricing hubs and the electric systems for which peak demand ranges are shown.

In the second tab immediately below, we show monthly and annual ranges of on-peak, daily wholesale natural gas prices at selected pricing locations in the United States. The range of daily natural gas prices is shown for the same month and year as the electricity price range chart. Wholesale electricity prices are closely tied to wholesale natural gas prices in all but the center of the country. Therefore, one can often explain current wholesale electricity prices by looking at what is happening with natural gas prices.

Wholesale prices

Selected wholesale electricity pricing locations

Wholesale electricity prices were lowest in New England (ISONE) during the month, dipping to $16/MWh on October 10 and also setting a new low for the last 12 months at the hub. This was the result of both low natural gas prices and low electricity demand in New England. Prices were also very low in New York City (NYISO), nearly setting a new 12-month low by dropping to $20/MWh on October 12 during a time of lower electricity demand and natural gas prices in the area at just over $1/MMBtu during that week. The highest priced hub during the month was Texas (ERCOT), which reached $58/MWh on October 18. During the week of the 18th, electricity demand was very high for late October in Texas, nearly reaching 58 gigawatts (GW) on both October 17 and 18 and natural gas prices were over $3/MMBtu at the Houston Ship Channel during the week. Wholesale electricity prices in Louisiana (into Entergy) nearly set a new 12-month high at $48/MWh on October 18th, dealing with the same weather and natural gas factors affecting Texas (ERCOT) at that time.

Wholesale natural gas prices were bifurcated by region during October, with extremely low prices in the Northeast and prices at or near 12-month highs in the rest of the country. New 12-month lows were set in New York City at Transco Z6 NY, which dropped all the way to $0.32//MMBtu and in the Mid-Atlantic at Tetco M-3, which fell to $0.39/MMBtu. Prices were below $1/MMBtu in New York City on four days during the month and for 12 days during the month in the Mid-Atlantic (Tetco M-3). Across the rest of the country, however, 12-month high prices were set in the Midwest (Chicago Citygates), Louisiana (Henry Hub), and Texas (Houston Ship Channel), and not far from 12-month highs at all other pricing locations.

Electricity system daily peak demand

Electric systems selected for daily peak demand

Electricity system daily peak demand remained on the lower end of the 12-month range at all hubs except Texas (ERCOT) during October. A new 12-month low was set in New York State (NYISO) and Progress Florida came within a whisker of a new 12-month low. New England (ISONE), the Mid-Atlantic (PJM), the Midwest (MISO), Southern Company, and Bonneville Power Administration were also not far off 12-month low daily peak demand levels. The one exception was Texas (ERCOT), which experienced one of its hottest and driest Octobers on record. Daily peak demand levels reached 58 GW on October 17 and 18 as a late-season heat wave hit the region. Temperatures reached the high-80's and low 90's across Texas from October 15-20, even hitting 100 in McAllen, Texas on four days straight from October 17-20.

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