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MISO extends cold weather, conservative ops alerts; real-time power prices jump

The Midcontinent Independent System Operator extended cold weather alerts and conservative operation alerts for its entire footprint Tuesday, as the ongoing cold spell led real-time power prices to jump.

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MISO extended cold weather alerts for its entire footprint through midnight EST January 6 (0500 GMT January 7), instead of the previously scheduled end of 10 pm EST Tuesday.

The weather alerts told all regional operators to expect to be contacted about fuel restrictions while reviewing fuel supply and outage plans.

The grid operator also extended its conservative operation alert to noon EST Friday. The alert was previously effective only for Tuesday as a result of very cold temperatures, high load and uncertainties about natural gas supplies.

The conservative operation notice called for maintenance and testing on critical transmission and generation resources to be suspended or canceled.

Peakload for the MISO footprint was forecast to reach 107 GW on Tuesday, 100 GW on Wednesday, 102 GW on Thursday, 102 GW January 5 and 90 GW on January 6, as generation outages were expected to fall from 21 GW to 11 GW over the same time period.

Tuesday's peakload was only 2 GW below the all-time January high, set in 2014.

The extreme cold and strong demand goosed real-time power prices to three-digits Tuesday, as Texas Hub and Louisiana Hub real-time locational marginal prices traded between $440/MWh and $610/MWh for the 15-minute interval ending 10:10 am EST.

The neighboring Electric Reliability Council of Texas also issued a watch for the extreme cold weather from Monday through Wednesday, with temperatures expected to be near or below freezing.

Meantime, South Carolina Electric & Gas Company urged its 720,000 electricity customers to voluntarily reduce their energy use as the cold temperatures are expected to put a strain on its system.

Into Southern next-day on-peak power traded between $115/MWh and $300/MWh on Intercontinental Exchange Tuesday morning while its off-peak counterpart was offered at $225/MWh.

--Jeff Zhou,

--Edited by Keiron Greenhalgh,