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Electricity Monthly Update

With Data for October 2019  |  Release Date: Dec. 23, 2019  |  Next Release Date: Jan. 27, 2020

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Regional Wholesale Markets: October 2019

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 fell significantly at nearly all selected trading hubs in October from September as weather cooled and electricity demand dropped in sympathy with temperatures. New 12-month low prices were set in New England (ISONE) at $20/MWh and in Texas (ERCOT) at $19/MWh on October 14 and in New York City (NYISO) at $20/MWh on October 8. 12-month lows were also nearly set in the Mid-Atlantic (PJM), Midwest (MISO), and in Louisiana (into Entergy) during the month. The highest price was once again recorded in Texas (ERCOT), hitting $160/MWh on October 2, though this was down considerably from September’s $975/MWh high price. Wholesale natural gas prices remained very low across the country during the month. At the Henry Hub in Louisiana, historically the proxy pricing point for the U.S., prices ranged between $2.02-$2.71/MMBtu in October. Prices also set new 12-month lows at the following locations: In the Mid-Atlantic, prices dipped to $0.63/MMBtu at Tetco M-3. In New York City, prices dropped to $0.67/MMBtu at Transco Z6 NY. In the Midwest, prices hit $1.64/MMBtu at Chicago Citygates and in Texas prices dropped to $1.92/MMBtu. Prices were also very close to 12-month lows in New England (Algonquin), at the Henry Hub in Louisiana, and in the Southwest (El Paso San Juan).

Electricity system daily peak demand

Electric systems selected for daily peak demand

Electricity system peak demand levels fell significantly throughout the month of October as weather conditions cooled. This resulted in daily peak demands that spanned a wide portion of the annual range, from high levels in the beginning of the month to very low levels later in the month. In the Mid-Atlantic region, daily peak demand ranged widely from 76.9-126.5 GW during the month. Southern Company demand ranged from 23.5-43.6 GW during the month. And in Texas, ERCOT demand ranged from 35.5-65.1 GW during the month. These wide differences in electricity demand present challenges to system operators who must match supply and demand on a nearly instantaneous basis throughout the day. It also highlights the opportunities for planned outage and maintenance activities in October as generator and transmission requirements decrease in conjunction with lower demand levels.

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