AUSenergy News Update 01/23/2014
Jan 23, 2014

In today’s AUSenergy News Update: ERCOT data reveals electricity consumption in the region rose 2.1% in 2013, Falling temperatures cause surging natural gas prices, and MISO’s integration translates into consumer benefits.

ERCOT data reveals 2.1% increase in electricity consumption in 2013

Summary: Numbers released by the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) show that electric consumption in the region rose 2.1 percent in 2013, with demand during the summer peak went up about 1 percent. Along with this change in consumption, the resource generation mix saw some slight changes. Natural gas generation declined slightly but still remained the largest source of generation, with coal generation correspondingly rising. Wind power generation also saw a slight uptick during 2013.
AUS Comment: Though Texas recently saw their electricity prices fall below the nationwide average, Texas electricity consumers would be wise to pay attention to the price of natural gas, which has climbed significantly this winter, considering its significant use in electricity generation. AUS keeps tabs on the Texas energy market and can help Texas consumers find the most competitive electricity rates.

Falling temperatures cause surging natural gas prices

Summary: Another wave of cold arctic air has sent natural gas and propane fuel prices to record highs. The rise in natural gas prices also drive up wholesale electricity prices.
AUS Comment: Fortunately, energy customers won’t see drastic increases to their energy bills. However, experience has shown us that by adding a fixed price component to an energy purchasing strategy, you provide yourself some protection from the price volatility that can occur as a result of increased stress placed on the grid by such things as severe weather conditions.

MISO’s integration translates into consumer benefits

Summary: The Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO) successfully implemented the largest-ever power grid integration last month, as the regional system operator (RTO) took control of the power grid in a four-state region of the Southern U.S. An independent industry analysis projected savings of $1.4 billion over a 10-year period as a result of MISO’s expansion.
AUS Comment: In addition to the projected cost savings, it is predicted that this integration will provide new opportunities to meet peak demand and balance the grid. However, several years of policy and transmission infrastructure reforms need to happen first before the full benefits of the integration can be realized.

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