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Electricity Monthly Update

With Data for June 2017  |  Release Date: August 24, 2017  |  Next Release Date: September 26, 2017

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Regional Wholesale Markets: June 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 were notable in June for what happened in the West, with huge price differences between the Northwest and Southwest/California in just one weeks' time. In the Northwest (Mid-C), prices dropped to only $1.25/MWh on June 13, a new 12-month low. This was due to a combination of mild temperatures, which ranged from 52-62 degrees Fahrenheit in Portland on that day, and the annual peak hydroelectric generation season for the year coming to a close. Just one week later, wholesale electricity prices set new 12-month highs in Northern and Southern California (CAISO) and the Southwest (Palo Verde) as record-breaking heat enveloped the area. On June 21, prices reached $144/MWh in Northern California (CAISO), $139/MWh in Southern California (CAISO), and $127/MWh in the Southwest (Palo Verde). Temperatures on the 21st hit 106 degrees Fahrenheit in Sacramento, 118 degrees in Palm Springs (which was actually cooler than the 122 degree high the day before) and 123 degrees in Death Valley. In Tucson, Arizona, high temperatures reached 113 degrees on the 19th, 20th, and 21st, setting new all-time records for all three days.

Wholesale natural gas prices were relatively unremarkable comparatively. Prices traded in narrow bands at most hubs across the country. The low price for the month occurred in the Mid-Atlantic (Tetco M-3), hitting $1.81/MMBtu on June 26. The high price for the month occurred in New England (Algonquin), which reached $3.35/MMBtu on June 13.

Electricity system daily peak demand

Electric systems selected for daily peak demand

Electricity system daily peak demand levels were considerably higher across all systems in June compared to May. All systems except Bonneville Power Administration exceeded 80% of its all-time peak demand at some point during the month and Tucson Electric set a new all-time peak demand record of 3,296 megawatts (MW) on June 20 in the middle of a sustained, scorching, heat-wave. High temperatures reached 113 degrees Fahrenheit in Tucson on June 19-21, a record for all three days (This was the temperature recorded at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, other temperatures in Tucson were reported as high as 115 degrees). In the middle of the heat wave, the low temperature on June 20 only dropped to 87 degrees and averaged over 101 degrees for the day, the first time Tucson exceeded a 100 degree average for one day. In California, numerous high temperature records were broken during this June heat wave, with inland temperatures routinely exceeding 120 degrees and peak demand for the month reaching 44,182 MW.

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