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Electricity Monthly Update

With Data for July 2018  |  Release Date: Sept. 25, 2018  |  Next Release Date: Oct. 24, 2018

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Regional Wholesale Markets: July 2018

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 set record highs at many locations in the West as an intense heat wave covered much of the region. Demand on both the electricity and natural gas transmission systems was high enough for many utilities to issue curtailment warnings and pleas to the public to reduce energy consumption. Wholesale electricity prices reached $377/MWh in Southern California (CAISO), $351/MWh in Texas (ERCOT), $291/MWh in the Southwest (Palo Verde), $266/MWh in Northern California (CAISO), and $230/MWh in the Northwest (Mid-C). These extremely high power prices were recorded on July 18 in Texas (ERCOT), July 24 in California (CAISO) and the Northwest (Mid-C), and on July 25 in the Southwest (Palo Verde).

Wholesale natural gas prices remained at reasonable levels during July with one noticeable outlier in Southern California (SoCal Border), where prices shot up to nearly $15/MMBtu on July 24. The high prices in Southern California were a result of both the extremely hot weather and planned and unplanned maintenance outages throughout the Southern California natural gas transmission system. At the Henry Hub in Louisiana, historically the proxy pricing point in the U.S., prices traded between the $2.73-$2.96/MMBtu range during the month.

Electricity system daily peak demand


Electric systems selected for daily peak demand

Electricity system daily peak demand levels were very high across many systems in July. 12-month high demand levels were recorded in New England (ISONE), which reached 24,188 MW on July 5 and in New York State (NYISO), which reached 31,293 MW on July 2. Both of these demand levels fell far short of all-time records on both systems. In Texas (ERCOT), the daily peak demand record was broken on July 18 and then again on July 19, reaching 73.3 GW. This is an astounding 2.2 GW above the earlier record of 71.1 GW set on August 11, 2016. Peak demand records are typically just above previous peaks, not a 2.2 GW leap as recorded in ERCOT. This record was shattered due to very high temperatures, with hundreds of high temperature records broken in July across the state, and high population growth that has continued for many years.

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