The Electric Reliability of Texas

2021-02-16

Wholesale power for delivery Sunday was trading at anywhere from three thousand to seven thousand dollars per megawatt-hour in some places triple the record set on Saturday and a staggering six hundred seventy-two percent increase from Friday at Texas west Hub average spot power prices were just shy of one thousand dollars per megawatt-hour during peak hours Sunday morning according to data compiled by Bloomberg Texas electricity customer are about to get pounded as prices explode spot prices are expected to hit 9000 dollars on Monday and Tuesday said Brian Laverdu a trader for advice power investment, it's a pretty brutal air mass said bob orovec senior branch forecaster at us weather prediction center. The cold air is entrenched across the middle part of the country high temperatures are amazingly cold some 50 degrees below average the situation in Texas is going from bad to worse weather forecast models suggest that the polar vortex, will continue pouring arctic air into much of the central us through February 20th as result Texas power grid operator the electric reliability council of Texas ercot has issued a statement warring an energy emergency and threatening rotating outages just when residents need the power to heat their homes the most other markets moving on the cold gas in Chicago hit 220 dollars per million British Thermal units traders say physical gas was going for as much as three hundred dollars per million BTUs at Texas hub Oklahoma gas prices have swung anywhere between fifty dollars to a high of six hundred dollars.

Last Thursday natural gas prices across the plains states soared to never-before-seen levels as a result of a polar vortex blast that cut off natural gas supply amid well head freeze-offs cutting production receipts just when they're most needed by customers demand to heat since the winter blast is expected to last the week it's likely that natural gas prices across the plains states could hit insane levels the frigid temperatures caused equipment failures temporary shutdowns and flaring in at least four natural gas processing plants the proverbial offer less market was hit where any available natural gas could be purchased at virtually any price which is why mid-continent prices such as the most natural gas spot exploded from 3.46 dollars one week ago to nine dollars on Wednesday sixty dollars 28 cents on Thursday and an insane 377.30 dollars on Friday up 32.000 percent in a few days.

Hubs across the mid-continent led the surge in prices again, on February 12th as weather forecasts predicted the coldest temperatures in more than a decade would hit the region over the upcoming holiday weekend, as natural gas went offer less it was just a matter of hours before the immediate downstream commodity electricity would follow suit and that's exactly what happened overnight to wholesale electricity prices across all U.S markets on Friday as an arctic air mass continues to blanket much of the central U.S.

The U.S national weather service has issued multiple severe kinds of weather notices widespread wind chill warnings and advisories are extended through February 14th and likely into next week for much of the upper midwest and mid-continent as well as some areas in the northwest and northern Texas daily temperatures across some of those locations will range between 30 to 40 degrees below average according to the national weather service.

This news is catastrophic not only for the continued freeze and natural gas distribution but for the peak and electricity prices which could see many customers receiving a February electricity bill in the thousands if not the tens of thousands, for example on Saturday the peak price in ercot west real-time hit an absolute all-time high of five thousand five hundred dollars per kilowatt-hour up from 302 dollars the day before

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