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Electricity Monthly Update

With Data for October 2014  |  Release Date: Dec. 23, 2014  |  Next Release Date: Jan. 26, 2015

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Regional Wholesale Markets: October 2014

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

In October, wholesale electricity and natural gas prices traded in a narrow band near the bottom of the twelve-month range. Texas (ERCOT) was the only region where electricity prices moved significantly above the lows for the month, reaching $93/MWh on October 7. That Tuesday was the first day of a weeklong late season heat wave, with temperatures exceeding 90 degrees four days straight. Peak loads in ERCOT exceeded 57.5 GW on the 7th and peaked above 54 GW for the next three days until dropping to a 36.7 GW daily peak on Saturday the 11th due to cooler weather and decreased weekend electricity demand. In the Northeast, prices in New England (ISONE), New York State (NYISO) and the Mid-Atlantic (PJM) came within $1/MWh of annual lows as shoulder season demand bottomed out and natural gas prices reached very low levels compared to recent years.

Natural gas prices in New England (Algonquin), New York City (Transco Z6 NY) and the Mid-Atlantic (Tetco M-3) reached 12-month lows in October, dipping to $1.67/MMBtu at Algonquin, $1.43/MMBtu at Transco Z6 NY and $1.42/MMBtu at Tetco M-3. These low prices will not persist however, as cold winter weather, high natural gas demand and constrained pipelines normally result in the highest prices in the nation for these areas.

Electricity system daily peak demand


Electric systems selected for daily peak demand

Daily peak electricity system demand levels were much lower in October compared to last month, when most regions were at or near their 12-month highs. Texas (ERCOT) was the only region to exceed 75% of its all-time peak demand during the month as warmer temperatures in the beginning of the month resulted in increased electricity demand. Unlike Texas, warmer temperatures in the Northeast at this time of year lead to decreased electricity demand, with New England (ISONE), New York State (NYISO) and the Mid-Atlantic (PJM) regions all having peak demand levels near 12-month lows and maxing out below 62% of their all-time peaks. Bonneville Power Administration in the Pacific Northwest also experienced very low demand, setting a 12-month low and reaching only 57% of its all-time peak during the month.

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