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Florida utilities restoring service quickly, but Ian turning lights out in Carolinas

Highlights

1 million in Florida have power restored

More than 310,000 lose service in Carolinas

Power, gas flows down, but start recovery

  • Author
  • Mark Watson    J Robinson    Karen Rivera    Amy Debayle
  • Editor
  • Rocco Canonica
  • Commodity
  • Electric Power LNG Natural Gas

Florida utilities made progress Sept. 30 restoring power systems disrupted by Ian, but the tropical storm that entered the Atlantic resumed hurricane status by the time it landed again in South Carolina, disrupting service in both Carolinas, and power and gas demand in the Southeast remained weakened.

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By 4 pm ET, the Category 1 Hurricane Ian – which had landed on the Florida Gulf Coast as a Category 4 storm packing 155 mph winds – had brought 85 mph winds and torrential rains sufficient to cut power to almost 220,000 in South Carolina and more than 92,000 in North Carolina, according to PowerOutage.us.

But by that same time, the number of customers offline in Florida had fallen to less than 1.8 million, a drop of about 1 million from the peak outages on Sept. 29. Florida Power & Light, the state's largest utility, had restored service to almost 847,000 customers by 5 pm ET Sept. 30.

Power, gas flows

Power demand in the US Energy Information Administration's Carolinas region, which includes most of the two states, peaked around 22.3 GW on Sept. 30, down 28% from a recent high of 30.1 GW on Sept. 26.

The Carolinas' generation by natural gas peaked at less than 7 GW on Sept 29, the latest date available from the EIA, which was down 31% from Sept. 26's peak of 10.1 GW, and Sept. 30 generation is likely to fall even lower.

Power in the North American Electric Reliability Corporation's Florida Regional Coordinating Council, which covers most of the state, on Sept. 29 peaked at 25.7 GW, down 43.5% from a recent peak of 45 GW on Sept. 23. As of 3 pm ET on Sept. 30, load had reached 27.4 GW, but had not yet peaked.

FRCC's gas-fired generation peaked at just 16.5 GW on Sept. 29, down 44% from a recent high of 28.9 GW.

Across the US Southeast, natural gas demand from power generation continued its downward slide on Sept. 30, dipping another 100 MMcf/d to an estimated 8 Bcf/d, data from S&P Global Commodity Insights showed. Since the start of this week regional gas demand from power is down about 2.5 Bcf/d.

In Florida, sample natural gas deliveries to power plants were off another 100 MMcf/d on Sept. 30 to 2.7 Bcf/d and remained sharply lower compared with the state's pre-storm average of about 4.4 Bcf/d.

In South Carolina, a smaller sample size limited visibility on the Hurricane's impact, but appeared to show a roughly 15% drop in power demand for natural gas on Sept. 30.

Along the Georgia coastline, which largely escaped storm damage, LNG feedgas deliveries to the Elba Island LNG export terminal were unchanged on the day at close to 370 MMcf/d.

US offshore gas production, meanwhile, now appears to be on the rebound, climbing about 75-100 MMcf/d over the past two days to more than 2.2 Bcf/d.

Pricing impacts

S&P Global assesses day-ahead bilateral indexes for Southeast markets, including Florida and the Virginia-Carolinas region, but those prices – which would apply for Oct. 3 delivery, were not available in time for publication.

The Florida day-ahead on-peak power price index for delivery Sept. 30 was $58.75/MWh, down $1.50 from the previous day and down from the September 2022 average of more than $98/MWh. S&P Global assessed the Florida power price index at $60.75/MWh for delivery Oct. 3.

Florida Gas Zone 3 spot gas fell about 60 cents to about $5.60/MMBtu in Sept. 30 trading, which can be compared with the month's average of $8.468/MMBtu.

The VACAR day-ahead on-peak power price index for delivery Sept. 30 was $58, down $1.50 from the previous day and down from the September 2022 average of more than $95/MWh. The index for delivery Oct. 3 was $61.25/MWh.

Transco Zone 4 spot gas, which may be relevant for VACAR power prices, did not yet have a price available for Oct. 1 flows, but S&P Global assessed the Sept. 30 price at $6.255/MMBtu, which can be compared with the month's average of $8.307/MMBtu.

Florida utility outages exceeding 10,000
Name
Customers
Customers offline
% offline
Florida Power & Light (NextEra)
5,610,607
905,073
16.1%
Duke Energy Florida
1,863,801
410,746
22.0%
Lee County Electric Co-op
219,118
197,391
90.1%
Tampa Electric
786,048
157,080
20.0%
Peace River Electric Co-op
55,258
27,751
50.2%
Lakeland Electric
142,841
23,156
16.2%
Orlando Utilities Commission
248,595
20,086
8.1%
New Smyrna Beach
28,921
16,584
57.3%
Glades Electric Co-op
17,228
11,410
66.2%
Sources: various utilities named except Lee County Electric Cooperative, which is from PowerOutage.us

Carolinas' utilities with offline customers exceeding 10,000
Utility
State
Customers
Customers offline
Dominion Energy
SC
790,160
107,012
13.5%
NC
3,645,268
54,089
1.5%
Santee Cooper
SC
198,507
29,128
14.7%
Berkeley Electric Cooperative
SC
115,956
27,931
24.1%
Duke Energy South Carolina
SC
823,223
18,558
2.3%
Santee Electric Coop
SC
44,574
11,458
25.7%
Horry Electric Cooperative
SC
88,840
10,064
11.3%
Sources: Utilities named except Duke Energy, which is from PowerOutage.us