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US POWER TRACKER: Southeast electricity prices fall on month, rise on year tracking natural gas


Hurricane Ian suppresses Florida prices

November forwards dip with gas, forecast

Gas' share rises on year; coal still sliding

  • Author
  • Mark Watson
  • Editor
  • Valarie Jackson
  • Commodity
  • Coal Electric Power Natural Gas
  • Tags
  • United States

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Southeast US day-ahead bilateral power indexes in September fell about 19% from August, but up by more than 60% from September 2021, largely because of gas price trends.

Florida power indexes weakened faster as Hurricane Ian crushed power demand in the last week.

November power forwards fell in September, with a similar widening spread between Florida and other Into Southern indexes, but remained significantly higher than November 2021 forwards in September 2021, S&P Global Commodity Insights data shows.

Day-ahead on-peak bilaterals averaged in the mid- to high $90s/MWh in September, down from about $116.50/MWh to $121/MWh in August, but up from about $55 to about $60.50/MWh in September 2021.

Ian's impact

Hurricane Ian made landfall shortly after 3 pm on Sept. 28 as a Category 4 hurricane, packing 155 mph winds and storm surges ranging as high as 18 feet across significant stretches of the Florida Gulf Coast, ultimately cutting power to about 2.8 million of the state's 11 million electricity customers, of whom 20,000 remained without service as of 1 pm ET Oct. 10.

Florida power day-ahead on-peak indexes averaged $60/MWh Sept. 28-30, compared with the $104.49/MWh for the rest of September, a decrease of 42.6%. As context, the Into TVA day-ahead on-peak index was $59.50/MWh Sept. 28-30, compared with $102.10/MWh for the rest of the month, a 41.7% decrease.

Power demand in the Florida Reliability Coordinating Council, which covers all of the state except the Panhandle, fell to 25.3 GW Sept. 29, down 18.6 GW or 42.4% from the recent peak of 43.8 GW Sept. 26, according to US Energy Information Administration data.

Weather vs. fuel effects

For the month, FRCC loads averaged 32.9 GW in September, S&P Global data shows, which is up 5.6% from 31.1 GW September 2021 but down 8.7% from 36 GW in August.

Florida's population-weighted cooling degree days in September averaged up 4.9% from September 2021, but down 13.5% from August, CustomWeather data shows.

In the North American Electric Reliability Corporation's SERC region, formerly known as the Southeast Electric Reliability Council, loads averaged 77.8 GW in September, up 0.4% from 77. 5 GW in September 2021, but down 12% from 88.4 GW in August, according to S&P Global data.

In Georgia, which lies near the center of the SERC region, September's population-weighted CDDs averaged 9.3% higher than September 2021, but almost 35% below August.

At the Florida Gas Zone 3 pipeline, spot natural gas averaged $8.468/MMBtu in September, up 65.3% from September 2021, $5.122/MMBtu but down 14% from $9.845/MMBtu in August.

At the Transco Zone 4 pipeline, which is important for Into Southern power pricing, spot gas averaged $8.307/MMBtu in September, up 65% from $5.035/MMBtu September 2021, but down 14.5% from $9.714/MMBtu in August.

Generation mix

Gas-fired generation maintained its leading share across the Southeast, approach 80% in FRCC and approaching 39% in the SERC region, according to Energy Information Administration data that S&P Global collected. FRCC's August share was 76.7% and September 2021 share was 75.8%. SERC's August share was 40.4% in August and 34.6% in September 2021.

Nuclear power came in second in both regions, with 8.3% in FRCC and 31% in SERC, followed by coal-fired generation at 6.4% in FRCC and 21.4% in SERC.

FRCC's August nuclear share was 11% and September 2021 share was 9.2%. FRCC's coal-fired share was 6.6% in August and 9.9% in September 2021.

SERC's August nuclear share was 29.6% and September 2021's was 30.6% SERC's coal-fired share was 21.9% in August and 25% in September 2021.

Forward markets

In forward markets, Florida November power averaged $81.05/MWh in September, down 14% from $94.25/MWh in August, but up 66.7% from the $48.65/MWh that November 2021 power averaged in September 2021.

Into Southern November power averaged $92.45/MWh in September, down 6.7% from August's $99.10/MWh but up 97.5% from the $46.80/MWh that November 2021 power averaged in September 2021.

Florida Gas Zone 3 November gas averaged $8.456/MMBtu in September, down 9.8% from August's $9.375/MMBtu but up 60.8% from the $5.258/MMBtu that November 2021 gas averaged in September 2021.

Transco Zone 4 November gas averaged $8.34/MMBtu in September, down 10% from August's $9.268/MMBtu but up 60.5% from the $5.197/MMBtu that November 2021 gas averaged in September 2021.

The National Weather Service's latest forecast for November, December, and January calls for enhanced chances—33% to 50%—for above-normal temperatures across most of the region, with the greatest chances along the Gulf and South Atlantic coasts. The rest of the Southeast has even chances for above- and below-normal temperatures in the forecast, issued Sept. 15.