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US wholesale power sales fall 4.2% in Q1 due to warm weather, coronavirus

Highlights

Decline of 58 million MWh compared to Q1 2019

Some top sellers register declines as do big markets

Houston — Total wholesale power sales in the first quarter of 2020 came at 1.33 billion MWh, a decline of 4.2% from Q1 2019, according to data filed with the US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and compiled by S&P Global Platts.

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The decline was due in large part to warmer-than-normal winter weather and the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.

The wholesale power sales reported to FERC by over 550 generating companies, and marketing and trading firms, was 58 million MWh less than the 1.39 billion MWh of sales reported in Q1 2019.

According to the data, the top wholesale power seller was Exelon Generation & Affiliates, which sold 121.66 million MWh in Q1 2020, giving it a 9.1% market share. Its sales were up 1.9% from its Q1 2019 sales.

Second ranked Vistra Energy, however, saw its year-on-year sales decline by 14.5% to 78.56 million MWh.

Third ranked Shell North America saw its sales increase about 3 million MWh, or 4.2%, to 73.8 million MWh.

Citigroup Energy, which was ranked fourth among all wholesale power sellers, reported sales of 56.7 million MWh, down 19.9%, or 14.1 million MWh, from its Q1 2019 sales total.

Of the top 20 wholesale power sellers in Q1 2020, half reported sales declines.

Cal-ISO, SPP see sales growth

The sales declines were spread across a number of regional markets.

According to the data, companies reported selling 5.7% less wholesale power in PJM Interconnection in Q1 2020 than was reported sold in Q1 2019. That decline came to about 26 million MWh to 434 million MWh in Q1 2020.

Sellers in the Midcontinent Independent System Operator market reported 209.4 million MWh of sales, a 5.9% decline versus Q1 2019, according to the data.

Reported sales in the Electric Reliability Council of Texas market were down 6.7%, from 205 million MWh in Q1 2019 to 191 million MWh in Q1 2020.

Sales reported at one of the country's top delivery points, the ERCOT North Zone, were down 9.6% to 92.9 million MWh in Q1.

Sales were down 10.2% in NYISO, 3.3% in ISO New England, 2.8% in the Western Electric Coordinating Council market and by 1.1% in SERC.

The two markets that saw increases in sales were the California Independent System Operator market and the Southwest Power Pool. Wholesale power sales increased 6.1% in Cal-ISO and by 0.8% in SPP in Q1 2020 from Q1 2019.

Wind, solar sales a small portion

Of the 1.333 billion MWh of wholesale power sold in Q1, 72.6 million MWh, or roughly 5.4% of the total, came from wind power generators.

Wholesale wind power sales were up 18% year on year in Q1, according to the data.

Wholesale solar power sales, which increased 21% year on year, totaled 10.6 million MWh, or about 0.8% of the total wholesale power sold in Q1 2020.

Top 20 Wholesale Power Sellers Comparison
Company
Q1-20 MWh (1)
Q1-19 MWh
Change (%)
Exelon Generation & Affiliates
121,661,461
119,344,255
1.9%
Vistra Energy
78,557,347
91,917,533
-14.5%
Shell Energy North America
73,826,737
70,853,928
4.2%
Citigroup Energy
56,717,166
70,840,807
-19.9%
Calpine Affiliates
45,718,917
42,546,089
7.5%
NextEra Energy Resources
43,976,415
40,060,292
9.8%
PSEG Power
31,034,028
32,863,127
-5.6%
Entergy Operating Companies
28,510,993
26,812,625
6.3%
EDF Trading Holdings
26,060,156
38,576,880
-32.4%
BP Energy
25,906,461
32,334,062
-19.9%
The Energy Authority
25,846,477
23,854,549
8.4%
American Electric Power Regulated Utilities
25,202,014
32,444,735
-22.3%
Dominion Regulated Utilities
23,336,174
21,954,494
6.3%
Xcel Energy
21,570,054
24,772,147
-12.9%
Morgan Stanley Capital Group
21,503,607
20,323,527
5.8%
Energy Harbor
21,233,649
-
NA
Direct Energy Affiliates
21,205,806
20,858,006
1.7%
NRG Energy
15,582,076
20,876,068
-25.4%
Evergy
14,989,679
16,173,676
-7.3%
Berkshire Hathaway Energy Regulated Utilities
14,813,178
18,450,526
-19.7%
Total Projected (1)
1,333,100,000
1,391,781,961
-4.2%
(1) Q1 2020 includes an estimate for PG&E and Southern California Edison CAISO sales which are reported one quarter later than the normal filing schedule as well as other entities that have yet to file data.