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New York real-time power prices remain volatile as loads exceed forecasts

By: Mike Wilczek |

New York electricity markets were feeling the brunt of a Nor’easter Friday, with real-time electricity prices in some zones coming in hundreds of dollars above Thursday’s levels, and loads for the state above forecasts.

At the same time, New England, which saw incredibly strong day-ahead pricing in the bilateral and ISO markets, has been much less volatile.

One reason for the differing price behavior has been loads. New England’s load has come in as much as 2,000 MW below forecasts, but New York has seen loads as much as 1,000 MW above state-wide forecasts and about 100 MW over forecasts for the Hudson Valley Zone.

Zones in eastern New York saw real-time prices climb above $1,000/MWh from 9:30 am to 11:30 am EST, with Hudson Valley, Zone G seeing a five-minute increment above $2,500/MWh. The average real-time price for the hour that ended 11 am EST for Zone G was over $900/MWh, more than $700 above the previous day’s real-time average for the same hour or the day-ahead clearing price for the hour.

New England has seen high real-time prices as well, but those prices were much more in line with the previous day’s real-time and day-ahead clearing prices. Mass Hub, ISO-New England’s internal hub, saw real-time prices break $290/MWh during a five-minute increment, with prices staying at about $200/MWh much of the day.

Day-to-day real-time premiums averaged about $70 and the spread between real-time and day-ahead clearing prices was less than $40.

Despite the divergence in price between New England and New York’s eastern zones that have transmission interfaces with New England, power flows continue to be in the direction of ISO-NE. Flows into New England from New York have averaged near 1,200 MW and often reached near 1,400 MW.

Imports into New York more than covered exports to New England, with Ontario-to-NYISO flows averaging about 1,300 MW and PJM Interconnect-to-NYISO flows averaging about 2,000 MW. Net flows out of New York were about 280 MW on average.

The Northeast will get some respite Monday from the cold and futures prices are showing the impact of temperature forecasts with highs that could reach the 40s. Loads in New York and New England are expected to be 2,000 to 3,000 MW lower Monday.

Mass Hub on-peak, day-ahead futures prices tumbled more than $120 to trade as low as $125/MWh for Monday delivery on the IntercontinentalExchange. New York Zone G saw day-ahead on-peak futures fall $60 to about $145/MWh for Monday delivery.

But the spell of relatively warmer weather is likely to be short-lived and forecasts of a return to high temperatures in the teens is keeping the balance-of-the-week market firm.

Mass Hub bal-week packages were bid at $180 and offered at $195/MWh on ICE, reflecting forecasts for cold weather later in the week. Zone G bal-week on-peak futures were bid at $150/MWh and offered at $210/MWh on ICE.