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Electricity Monthly Update

With Data for September 2017  |  Release Date: Dec. 1, 2017  |  Next Release Date: Dec. 27, 2017

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Regional Wholesale Markets: September 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 high at many locations in September, setting new 12-month highs in the Mid-Atlantic (PJM), Midwest (MISO), Louisiana (into Entergy), and in Northern and Southern California (CAISO). In California, what some have called the greatest heat wave in the state’s history pushed prices up to $171/MWh in Southern CA (SP-15) and $170/MWh in Northern CA (NP-15) on September 1. Prices at these two locations averaged under $40/MWh for the rest of the month, September 2-30. In the Mid-Atlantic (PJM), prices reached $87/MWh on September 25 as a late-season heat wave pushed high temperatures in the region into the 90’s. In the Midwest (MISO), prices reached $65/MWh on September 26 and in Louisiana (into Entergy), prices hit $66/MWh on September 25, both new 12-month highs in those regions.

Wholesale natural gas prices at the Henry Hub in Louisiana, traditionally the main natural gas pricing point in the U.S., traded in a band between $2.88-$3.18/MMBtu during the month, slightly higher levels than in August. Natural gas prices in the Northeast traded lower than the Henry Hub for much of the month, dipping to $0.81/MMBtu in the Mid-Atlantic (Tetco M-3), $1.03/MMBtu in New England (Algonquin), and to $1.20/MMBtu in New York City (Transco Z6 NY). Prices elsewhere traded between $2.32-$3.59/MMBtu during September.

Electricity system daily peak demand

Electric systems selected for daily peak demand

Electricity system daily peak demand levels were notable in Progress Florida and California (CAISO) for two very different reasons. In Progress Florida, demand dropped precipitously as Hurricane Irma made landfall, falling from nearly 10,300 MW on September 7 to under 3,200 MW on September 11, before rebounding over the following days to over 8,200 MW on September 14. Irma knocked out power to millions of customers across Florida and then Georgia as the storm tracked north. In California, the September heat wave pushed peak demand up to a new 12-month high, just short of 50,000 MW on September 1 and less than 300 MW off CAISO’s all-time peak demand record. Temperatures on September 1 reached 106 degrees in downtown San Francisco, the highest reading since records have been kept going back to 1874. The average high for September 1 in San Francisco is 70 degrees. Many other heat records were broken across California on this day, as both electricity demand and prices reached levels rarely seen in the state.

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