U.S. Energy Information Administration - EIA - Independent Statistics and Analysis
Electricity Monthly Update
With Data for December 2013 | Release Date: Feb. 21, 2014 | Next Release Date: Mar. 21, 2014
Regional Wholesale Markets: December 2013
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.
Daily wholesale electricity prices at ten locations were significantly higher in December than they were in November. This was due to a combination of higher demand and higher natural gas prices across most of the country as a result of the onset of colder winter weather.
Wholesale electricity prices were highest in the Northeast. Prices peaked in New England to almost $206/MWh on December 16 and to just over $165/MWh in New York City on December 12. Daily peak demand levels in both ISONE and NYISO were much higher in December than in November.
The primary factor was higher natural gas prices in the Northeast, due to the use of natural gas-fired peaking units and the sensitivity to natural gas price movements in this region. In New England, Algonquin Citygate prices reached $32.25/MMBtu on December 16 and averaged $13.37/MMBtu for the month, more than triple the $4.22/MMBtu average price at Henry Hub in Louisiana. In New York City, Transco Zone 6-NY natural gas prices peaked at $16.13/MMBtu on December 12 and averaged $5.52/MMBtu for the month. And in the Mid-Atlantic, prices peaked just short of $12/MMBtu at Tetco M-3. The rest of country set yearly maximum values for natural gas prices in December, though price levels ranging from $4.45/MMBtu at Houston Ship Channel to $8/MMBtu at Southern California (SoCal) Border fell well short of peak prices found in the Northeast.
In the Midwest, electricity prices approached $50/MMBtu as brutally cold weather drove MISO load levels to 91,715 MW on December 30, just 6,811 MW short of the all-time peak. Low temperatures in Minneapolis reached -11 degrees Fahrenheit on December 29 and -13 degrees Fahrenheit on December 30, both records for those days.
In the Northwest, electric prices reached $93/MWh on December 9 as an extended bout of cold weather drove low temperatures nearly 20 degrees below normal levels and local Sumas natural gas prices reached $11/MMBtu, well above the $5.03/MMBtu average for the month. Daily peak electric demand for the Bonneville Power Administration exceeded 10,000 megawatts on three days between December 5-9, reaching 92% of BPA's all-time maximum on the 9th.
Electricity System Daily Peak Demand
Prices set a yearly maximum value in Louisiana on December 9 of $42.50/MMBtu during middle of a long stretch of below normal temperatures in the region, though this was the lowest peak of any region for the month.