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Electricity Monthly Update

With Data for February 2016  |  Release Date: April 28, 2016  |  Next Release Date: May 25, 2016

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Regional Wholesale Markets: February 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 and natural gas prices were much lower this February compared to the last several years, particularly in the Northeast. A combination of warmer-than-normal temperatures, additional pipeline infrastructure, and the generally well-supplied and low-priced natural gas environment led to the much lower prices. In the electricity market, peak prices for the month reached only $53/MWh in New England (ISONE), down from $211/MWh last year and $236/MWh two years ago. Peak prices in New York City (NYISO) reached only $62/MWh this year, down from $223/MWh last year and $227/MWh two years ago. In the Mid-Atlantic (PJM), peak prices reached only $46/MWh this year, down from $279/MWh last year and $208/MWh two years ago. And in the Midwest (MISO), peak prices reached only $30/MWh this year, down from $64/MWh last year and $111/MWh two years ago. Prices remained below $32/MWh at all other selected trading points during the month.

Wholesale natural gas prices experienced similar price declines. Peak prices for the month reached only $7.88/MMBtu in New England (Algonquin), down from $29.25/MMBtu last year and $31.50/MMBtu two years ago. Peak prices in New York City (Transco Z6 NY) reached only $7.62/MMBtu this year, down from $35.37/MMBtu last year and $24.29/MMBtu two years ago. In the Mid-Atlantic (Tetco M-3), peak prices reached only $4.67/MMBtu this year, down from $20.97/MMBtu last year and $21.10/MMBtu two years ago. And in the Midwest, peak prices reached only $2.29/MMBtu this year, down from $10.20/MMBtu last year and $22.81/MMBtu two years ago. Peak prices remained below $2.50/MMBtu at the other selected trading points around the country.

Electricity system daily peak demand


Electric systems selected for daily peak demand

Electricity system daily peak demand this February reflected a continuation of warmer-than-normal weather in what would become the warmest winter on record for the lower-48. There was a lack of extremely high demand days during the month, while all ten regions recorded days close to the low end of the range for the last 12 months. Last February, 12-month high peak demand days were set in the Mid-Atlantic (PJM) and in Progress Florida. The year before that, a 12-month high was set in the Northwest (Bonneville Power Administration). None came close to new 12-month highs this February. By region, peak demand days were mixed compared to last February, with five recording higher daily peaks and five lower. New England, Southern Company, Progress Florida, Tucson Electric, and California had higher daily peak demand while New York State, Mid-Atlantic, Midwest, Texas, and Bonneville Power Administration had daily peaks lower than last year.

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