Spot Power Drops in California Amid Lower-Than-Forecast Demand

Spot wholesale electricity plunged in California as demand dropped below forecasts.

Prices slipped to negative levels in early afternoon trading, a signal to generators to reduce supply. Power consumption on the main state grid was 25,174 megawatts at 1:30 p.m. local time, 7 percent lower than the day-ahead forecast for the hour, according to the California Independent System Operator Inc.’s website.

Conditions across California were to be fair and warm today, with sunshine favoring increased solar generation, said WSI Corp. in Andover, Massachusetts. Solar output was 2,900 megawatts at 1:30 p.m., compared with the Dec. 20 peak of 2,446 megawatts, California ISO data show.

Spot electricity for Northern California’s NP15 hub, which includes San Francisco, averaged minus 39 cents during the hour ended at 1 p.m. local time versus the average of $17.99 during the same period on Dec. 20, grid data compiled by Bloomberg show. The average price for on-peak power at the hub today was down 36 percent at $25.49, the least since July 5.

Southern California’s SP15 hub also averaged negative 39 cents, down from $17.27 during the same hour on Dec. 20. On-peak electricity slid 38 percent to $25.06.

The high temperature in San Francisco today may be 59 degrees Fahrenheit (15 Celsius), 3 above normal, while Los Angeles was forecast to be 74 degrees, 7 higher than average, according to AccuWeather Inc. in State College, Pennsylvania.

Wind Generation

Wind generation in the U.S. Pacific Northwest, which can be exported into California, topped 4,000 megawatts today for the first time since at least Dec. 17, according to the Bonneville Power Administration’s website. The BPA is a federal agency based in Portland, Oregon, that is responsible for managing the Northwest grid. Total installed wind capacity in the region was 4,515 megawatts as of April 2.

Spot power prices also slumped from Washington to Texas and the Midwest amid milder weather. New York City power rose as demand topped forecasts.

Boston electricity fell $28.41, or 73 percent, to average $48.12 a megawatt-hour during the hour ended at 4 p.m. Eastern time versus the same time on Dec. 20, Bloomberg data show. New York City rose $2.78, or 7.7 percent, to average $38.74.

New York prices traded at a premium to Boston for the first time in five weeks, averaging $10.07 versus a discount of $45.47 on Dec. 20.

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