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Electricity Monthly Update

With Data for April 2015  |  Release Date: June 25, 2015  |  Next Release Date: July 24, 2015

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Regional Wholesale Markets: April 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

Wholesale natural gas and electricity market prices, as is generally typical of a shoulder month like April, fluctuated in the lower portion of their annual ranges. On the electricity side, the highest wholesale electricity prices prevailed in New England (ISONE), where prices peaked at $56.82 per MWh on April 8, 2015. Other regions that had wholesale electricity prices that peaked at a higher level relative to other regions include PJM ($45.22 per MWh on April 27, 2015) and Northern California (42.73 per MWh on April 30, 2015). As wholesale electricity prices generally follow wholesale natural gas price movements, it is not surprising to see natural gas prices also fluctuating in the lower portion of their ranges in April 2015. Prices peaked in New England (Algonquin) at $6.85 per MMBtu on April 8, 2015. All other wholesale market prices peaked below $3.00 per MMBtu, with the highest being Northern California at $2.95 per MMBtu on April 23, 2015.

Electricity system daily peak demand

Electric systems selected for daily peak demand

April, as a shoulder month, tends to keep most regional electricity markets to the lower- to mid-portion of their 12-month ranges. In April, as weather warms, warmer climatic zones move higher into their 12-month ranges as the cooling season begins in those regions. While in cooler climatic zones, markets tend to move to the lower portion of their 12-month ranges, as those regions come out of their heating seasons. This pattern is illustrated by the fact that the regions with the highest percentage of all-time peak demand for April 2015 are seen in Tucson Electric (69%), Progress Florida (68%), and CAISO (68%). In terms of monthly peaks, warmer weather areas experience monthly peaks later in the month, such as CAISO and Tucson Electric on April 30, while colder climates had monthly peaks earlier in the month, such as ISONE and NYISO on April 8, 2015 and PJM on April 1, 2015.

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