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Electricity Monthly Update

With Data for November 2016  |  Release Date: Jan. 26, 2017  |  Next Release Date: Feb. 24, 2017

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Regional Wholesale Markets: November 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 remained near the low end of the 12-month range at all hubs across the country, as one of the warmest Novembers' on record led to lower energy demand than is typical for the month. Daily peak prices stayed below $40/MWh at all hubs except Northern California (CAISO), which reach $42 and $40 on November 29 and 30, respectively. Prices in the Northeast, which are liable to spike in the winter during times of cold weather, peaked at only $38/MWh in New England (ISONE) and $37/MWh in New York City (NYISO). The lowest daily peak price occurred in the Northwest (Mid-C) at just below $15/MWh on November 11, as Washington and Idaho experienced their warmest November on record and Oregon experienced its' second-warmest November on record.

Wholesale natural gas prices generally exhibited a U-shaped pattern in November, falling steadily during the first half of the month before bottoming out and rising the second-half of the month. For example, prices in Louisiana (Henry Hub) were $2.85/MMBtu on November 1, fell steadily to $2.06/MMBtu on November 14, before rising and ending the month at $3.02/MMBtu on November 30. This pattern was consistent at most hubs except in the Northeast, where prices remained flatter through the latter part of the month.

Electricity system daily peak demand

Electric systems selected for daily peak demand

Electricity system daily peak demand was low in November due to the extremely warm weather across the country that kept winter-like energy demand at bay for another month. Three states, Washington, Idaho, and North Dakota had their warmest November on record, eleven states had their second-warmest November on record, and every other state had above- to much-above normal temperatures. Such temperatures limit the amount of heating demand and resulted in daily peak demand levels that were not that much different than demand levels in October. Twelve-month low daily peak demand levels were set in Progress Florida on November 26 and in California (CAISO) on November 24. Every system remained at 70% (Texas (ERCOT)) or below 70% of its all-time peak demand level.

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