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Electricity Monthly Update

With Data for September 2015  |  Release Date: Dec. 1, 2015  |  Next Release Date: Dec. 24, 2015

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Regional Wholesale Markets: September 2015

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

Daily on-peak wholesale electricity prices remained well below yearly highs in all regions in September. Low prices for the month ranged from $22.25/MWh in the Northwest (Mid-C) to $30.58/MWh in Northern California (CAISO). High prices for the month ranged from $33.75/MWh in Louisiana (into Entergy) to $60.63/MWh in New York City (NYISO). The largest change from last month occurred in Texas (ERCOT), where the maximum daily on-peak price reached just $39/MWh, well below the 12-month high of $164/MWh that resulted from a heat wave and record electricity demand in early August.

Wholesale natural gas prices traded in a very tight range in September at all hubs outside of the Northeast. In Northern California (PG&E Citygate), prices traded in a narrow 13 cent range between $3.05-$3.18/MMBtu. At the Henry Hub, prices traded in an 18 cent range from $2.57-$2.75/MMBtu. Prices also traded in narrow bands of 19 cents in the Northwest (Sumas), 20 cents in Texas (Houston Ship Channel), 24 cents in the Midwest (Chicago Citygates) and Southwest (El Paso San Juan), and a 34 cent range in Southern California (SoCal Border). In New England, natural gas prices rose to $4.92/MMBtu at Algonquin in the Boston area.

Electricity system daily peak demand

Electric systems selected for daily peak demand

Electricity system daily peak demand remained high through the first half of September. A new 12-month high of 47,252 MW was set in California (CAISO) on September 10, though this is more than 3,000 MW below CAISO's all-time record. Daily peak demand came within a whisker of setting new 12-month highs in New England (ISONE) at 24,280 MW and in New York State (NYISO) at 31,058 MW on September 8. Weather was the main driver for these high demand levels, as is typically the case. In California, record high temperatures and higher-than-normal humidity spread across Southern California on and around September 10. In the Northeast, record high temperatures on September 8 were set in Boston (96 degrees, 21 degrees above average), New York City (97 degrees, 19 degrees above average), and Philadelphia (95 degrees, 16 degrees above average).

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