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Electricity Monthly Update

With Data for June 2016  |  Release Date: Aug. 24, 2016  |  Next Release Date: Sep. 26, 2016

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Regional Wholesale Markets: June 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 moved higher in June compared to the particularly low prices recorded in May. This was partially the result of higher natural gas prices (though prices are still low relative to historical levels) and partially due to higher electricity system demand levels. The highest electricity price last month was just over $43/MWh in MISO. This month, wholesale electricity prices reached $58/MWh in the Southwest (Palo Verde), $56/MWh in Southern California (CAISO), $48/MWh in Texas (ERCOT), $46/MWH in Northern California (CAISO) and nearly $45/MWh in the Mid-Atlantic (PJM).

The highest wholesale natural gas price in May reached only $2.17/MMBtu in Northern California (PG&E Citygate). This month, every hub except the Mid-Atlantic (Tetco M-3) exceeded that high price at PG&E Citygate. Natural gas prices reached $3.26/MMBtu at Northern California (SoCal Border), $3.24/MMBtu in New England (Algonquin) and Southern California (SoCal Border) reached $3.10/MMBtu, which was also a new 12-month high at that hub.

Electricity system daily peak demand

Electric systems selected for daily peak demand

Electricity system daily peak demand increased considerably in June, with peak demand levels 5-40% higher in each region than in May. A new all-time record was also set in Tucson Electric on June 20 in the midst of a record heat wave. Temperatures in Tucson reached 115 degrees on Sunday, June 19, the third-hottest day ever in Tucson and the hottest since 1994 and hit 111 degrees on Monday, June 20 when Tucson Electric's new all-time demand record of 3,211 MW was set (electricity demand is highest on weekdays as commercial and industrial activities add to residential demand). Progress Florida approached record territory on June 13 with demand reaching 13,152 MW in the midst of near-record high temperatures in that area. Daily peak electricity demand in Southern Company on June 25 and Texas (ERCOT) on June 15 also exceeded 90% of all-time high demand levels in those respective regions.

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