U.S. Energy Information Administration - EIA - Independent Statistics and Analysis
Electricity Monthly Update
With Data for March 2013 | Release Date: May 21, 2013 | Next Release Date: June 21, 2013
Regional Wholesale Markets: March 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.
Wholesale electricity prices remained below $65/MWh for most of the country for most of March, though prices in New England and New York went through large upswings throughout the month. Prices in New England peaked on March 21, when they reached $94/MWh, and were elevated above $50/MWh for most of the month. Though not quite as elevated, prices in New York remained generally between $50 and $70 per MWh for much of the month. Towards the end of the month, prices at these two hubs fell back to levels relatively close to those of the other hubs, though they still remained slightly higher than the others.
Natural gas prices in New England were elevated and volatile for much of March. New England reached a monthly high on March 21, with prices reaching $11.54/MMBtu. It is clear from the data that large spikes in natural gas prices in New England translated into similarly elevated wholesale electricity prices in the corresponding electricity market. The New York City price was slightly elevated in March. The natural gas prices at the remaining hubs were relatively stable all month, generally hovering around the average Henry Hub price of $3.95/MMBtu. They also set annual prices highs.
Electricity System Daily Peak Demand
The monthly range of daily peak-hour demand as a percentage of all-time peak demand for March 2013 compared to the annual range varied from region to region, showing light demand across the electrical systems. No system posted a monthly-high peak load above 80 percent of its all-time peak demand during the month of March. Only Southern Company, Progress Florida and BPA reached peak demands above 70 percent of their all-time peaks. Only Progress Florida reported a peak demand as high as 75 percent of its all-time peak demand, but it also posted the lowest demand of all the systems as a fraction of its all-time peak down around 40 percent. Both Southern Company and Bonneville Power Administration nearly posted annual low peak demands. Most of the systems recorded demand that was generally between 50 percent and 70 percent of their all-time highs for the month of March. Since March is a shoulder period for much of the country as we come out of the winter months, it is unsurprising that there was not much high demand in any of the systems.