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Electricity Monthly Update

With Data for April 2017  |  Release Date: June 23, 2017  |  Next Release Date: July 25, 2017

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Regional Wholesale Markets: April 2017

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 prices ranged between $15-$46/MWh at selected hubs across the country except in Texas (ERCOT) and the Northwest (Mid-C) during the month of April. In Texas, prices hit $61/MWh on April 26 as hot weather enveloped the eastern and southern parts of the state. Houston hit 91 degrees Fahrenheit, matching the all-time record for the day, and the spring heat pushed up electricity demand and prices in ERCOT. In the Northwest, generally mild weather and robust hydroelectric production resulted in low prices in the range of $3-$23/MWh during the month. Water flow at The Dalles Dam, a run-of-the-river facility on the Columbia River east of Portland and good proxy for hydroelectric production in the Northwest, averaged 368,000 cubic feet per second in April, 12% higher than in March and 41% higher than April 2016.

Wholesale natural gas prices across the county ranged between $2.39-$3.90/MMBtu during April. Prices were considerably lower in the Northeast this month compared to March as temperatures warmed. A high price in New England (Algonquin) of $3.90/MMBtu was down from $8.25/MMBtu in March, a high price of $3.19/MMBtu in New York City (Transco Z6 NY) was down from $6.95/MMBtu in March and a high price of $3.14/MMBtu in the Mid-Atlantic (Tetco M-3) was down from $4.81/MMBtu in March.

Electricity system daily peak demand

Electric systems selected for daily peak demand

Electricity system daily peak demand levels in April were on the low end of the 12-month range in all systems across the country as mild spring weather reduced the need for heating and cooling demand. A new 12-month daily peak demand low of 65,146 MW was set in the Midwest (MISO) on April 8 and 12-month lows were nearly set at most of the other electricity systems during the month.

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