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.
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.