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Electricity Monthly Update

With Data for April 2014  |  Release Date: June 23, 2014  |  Next Release Date: July 25, 2014   |   Revision

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Regional Wholesale Markets: April 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

Daily wholesale electricity and natural gas prices traded in narrow bands towards the bottom of yearly ranges in April. Prices in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic topped out at just $66/MWh in New England (ISONE), $62/MWh in New York City (NYISO) and $61/MWh in PJM, a far cry from the high prices experienced this past winter. Interestingly, the highest prices in April were found in Louisiana (into Entergy), which reached $88/MWh on April 16 when record low temperatures, some 20 degrees below normal, spread across much of the state. Prices promptly dropped the next day as temperatures rebounded. In the Northwest, prices at Mid-C reached an annual low of $14/MWh, not uncommon for this time of year due to a combination of mild spring weather keeping a lid on demand and increased hydroelectric production as snowpack begins to melt.

Daily wholesale natural gas prices traded in a tight range during the month of April, with less than a $0.50/MMBtu difference between the high and low prices for the month at all locations except New England (Algonquin), New York City (Transco Z6 NY) and Mid-Atlantic (Tetco M-3). Prices were elevated slightly mid-month at those three locations, with the highest prices of $6.80/MMBtu at New England (Algonquin) on April 16 due to a quick burst of cold weather pushing low temperatures below freezing that day, though nothing like the weather and prices seen in previous months.

Electricity system daily peak demand

Electric systems selected for daily peak demand

Daily peak electricity system demand levels were generally lower in April than they were in March. Both New York State (NYISO) and Progress Florida recorded peak days that were the lowest in the last twelve months. New England (ISONE), Mid-Atlantic (PJM), Southern Company, Texas (ERCOT) and Tucson Electric all had days where peak loads were very close to the low for the last twelve months. In New England (ISONE) and New York State (NYISO), peak loads were low enough to not exceed 60% of all-time peak throughout the month.

The only areas with slightly elevated peak load levels above 70% of all-time peak were Progress Florida and Texas (ERCOT), where short periods of hot weather increased electricity demand. In Progress Florida, peak demand occurred on April 27, as a high temperature of 90 degrees was just one degree shy of the all-time record for the day (as measured in Orlando). System demand exceeded 9.5 GW on that day, a high for the month but far below the 13.4 GW all-time peak. In Texas (ERCOT), temperatures well into the 90's across much of the state drove up electricity demand towards the end of the month, leading to system demand of 48.5 GW on April 28, though still far below the 68.4 all-time record peak demand.

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