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Electricity Monthly Update

With Data for October 2021 Release Date: December 23, 2021 Next Release Date: January 26, 2022

Regional Wholesale Markets: October 2021

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, 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

Wholesale electricity price movements were mixed across the country in October. The largest month-over-month increase occurred in Texas (ERCOT), with a $191/MWh high price, which was 169% above September’s high. October high prices were up 21% in New England (ISONE), 17% in the Midwest (MISO), 5% in Louisiana (into Entergy), and 4% in the Mid-Atlantic (PJM). Prices in the western US were all down significantly in October, with Southwest (Palo Verde) high prices down 76% from September, Northwest (Mid-C) prices down 71%, Southern California (CAISO) prices down 67%, and Northern California (CAISO) prices down 45%. New York City (NYISO) was the only selected pricing hub east of the Rocky Mountains with lower high prices during October than in September, with high prices down 7% during the month.

Wholesale natural gas prices were higher in October than in September at all selected hubs except Southern California (SoCal Border), where high prices declined significantly (down 66% to $6.44/MMBtu). The largest month-over-month price increase was recorded in the Northwest, with prices up 14% to $6.80 at Sumas. Daily high prices were up 11% in both the Southwest (El Paso) and the Midwest (Chicago Citygates), up 6% in both the Mid-Atlantic (Tetco M-3) and New York City (Transco Z6 NY), and up 5% in Texas (Houston Ship Channel). Prices at all selected hubs traded between $3.28-$7.42/MMBtu during October.

Electricity system daily peak demand

Electricity system daily peak demand continued to trend down in October. From August to September, daily peak demand was lower on eight of nine selected electricity systems and the same was true from September to October, with eight of nine systems recording a lower peak demand day. Only on the Bonneville Power Administration system in the Northwest was there a day in October with peak demand surpassing the high day in September. Peak demand in BPA reached 7,681 MW on October 12, six percent higher than September’s peak day. Peak demand in October was down 10% in Southern Company and the Midwest (MISO), 14% in Texas (ERCOT), 20% in New York State (NYISO), 22% in New England (ISONE) and the Mid-Atlantic (PJM), and was 24% lower in California (CAISO).