Compete Coalition Maps 16 Years of Restructuring, Lower Rates
Restructuring Today | April 24, 2014
The Compete Coalition released new data yesterday arguing that customers served by ISO/RTOs and those whose states have deregulated retail saw their rates decline over the last 16 years while those who have not saw them rise. The group that includes industry and customers used data from EIA and the Bureau of Labor Statistics to compile the updated analyses on power price data from 1997 through last year.
Consumers in states that restructured their retail power regulations to promote competition saw their rates decline by 3.2% over those 16 years while those living under monopoly regulation saw them rise 8.2%. States in ISO/RTO regions saw their rates drop by 0.9% while those in states outside of markets saw their rates go up 6.7%, said Compete.
"Compete has conducted this exercise annually for several years now, and the data are irrefutable. Consumers in states with competition, whether at wholesale or retail or both, have seen their rates either decline or increase at a slower rate of growth compared with consumers in states without competition," Compete Counsel William Massey said in prepared remarks. "These data show that competition works in the best interests of consumers and we expect this observable trend to continue into the foreseeable future."
The benefits also continue to hold true when broken down into customer class. Residential customers in restructured states saw their rates drop 5.8%, while rates in monopoly states rose 4.3%.
Commercial customers in restructured states saw their rates drop 12.1%, while their counterparts in monopoly states saw rates go up 2.1%. Industrial customers in competitive states saw rates drop 2.5%, while they rose 11.4% in monopoly states.
Residential customers in ISO/RTO footprints saw their rates drop 3.1% while those on the outside saw their rates go up 3.2%. In RTOs, commercial customers saw rates drop 10.4% and outside commercial customers saw a 1.8% boost, while the numbers for industrials were a 1.7% boost in RTOs and an 8.7% boost outside RTOs.
U.S. Energy Secretary: Energy Issues in New England, Where Costs Among Highest in Nation, Vexing
The Associated Press | April 24, 2014
The nation's top energy official delivered a blunt message Monday to a Connecticut audience of energy executives, regulators, environmentalists and others who already know that fuel heating and cooling homes and businesses and running power plants in New England is among the costliest in the nation.
Ernest Moniz, U.S. secretary of energy, stopping in Providence, R.I., and Hartford in a months-long federal review of energy issues, said New England doesn't share the good news developing in the field of energy with the rest of the country.
"Out there, in much of the country the talk is about the energy revolution, the abundance of energy that we have, the way that we are in fact drawing upon new resources ... promoting renewables, at the same time reducing carbon emissions," he said.
"But yet if we come here, it's not a discussion of abundance. It's a discussion of, in particular, infrastructure constraints," he said.
Speaking to an audience of about 150 in Hartford, Moniz said that in New England, piping in natural gas and otherwise delivering heat or electricity is limited by a lack of delivery systems.
During the severe winter, natural gas prices soared to more than $120 per million British thermal units from about $5 in the summer. The spike was blamed on strong demand, a lack of pipeline systems, limited regional liquefied natural gas deliveries and inadequate storage.
Energy prices in New England often are "very volatile and much higher than other parts of the country," Moniz said.
Moniz knows New England. A physicist and professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Moniz said even when fuel is available, it cannot be moved in emergencies, such as Superstorm Sandy in October and November 2012, because of power outages.
New England governors announced a plan in January to expand natural gas use. The governors of Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont asked the region's grid operator for technical help to seek proposals to build transmission equipment and public works to deliver enough electricity to serve 1.2 million to 3.6 million homes. The states also asked the system operator, ISO-New England, to devise a way to finance the project.
Gordon van Welie, ISO president, said Monday that because many non-gas-fired plants are to be retired beginning this year and public works improvements are scheduled to start years from now, New England's power system will be in a "precarious position" for a few years.
Anthony Buxton, general counsel for the Industrial Energy Consumer Group, a trade association of industrial facilities, said he told Moniz in his visit to Providence that 2 billion cubic feet per day of more pipeline capacity into New England is needed to tame natural gas price spikes.
Connecticut director William Dornbos of Environment Northeast, an advocacy group, urged Moniz and state policymakers to seek ways to cut demand via greater energy efficiency and to avoid major capital projects such as interstate natural gas pipelines or electric transmission lines.
Natural Gas and Oil Market Update
Natural Gas Prices Continue to Rise After Supply Data
MarketWatch | April 24, 2014
Natural Gas futures on Thursday continued their climb after the U.S. Energy Information Administration reported that supplies of natural gas rose 49 billion cubic feet for the week ended April 18. That was slightly more than the market expected as analysts surveyed by Platts forecast an increase of between 42 billion cubic feet and 46 billion cubic feet. Total stocks now stand at 899 billion cubic feet, down 831 billion cubic feet from a year ago and 1.01 trillion cubic feet below the five-year average, the government said. May natural gas was at $4.745 per million British thermal units, up 1.5 cents, or 0.3%. It was trading at $4.74 before the data.
Crude Oils Advance on Ukraine Tension, Economic Reports
Bloomberg | April 24, 2014
Oil advanced as Russian President Vladimir Putin warned Ukraine against continuing its offensive against separatists after troops entered the city of Slovyansk, killing five rebels. Government reports showed orders for durable goods poured into U.S. factories in March and German business confidence gained in April. Prices fell yesterday after government data showed U.S. crude supplies at an 83-year high.
WTI for June delivery rose 67 cents, or 0.7 percent, to $102.11 a barrel at 9:26 a.m. on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell 31 cents to $101.44 yesterday, the lowest settlement since April 7. The volume of all futures traded was 5.2 percent above the 100-day average.
Brent for June settlement advanced 82 cents, or 0.8 percent, to $109.93 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange. Trading volume was 7.5 percent below average. The European benchmark crude traded at a $7.82 premium to WTI. The spread widened for a third day yesterday to close at $7.67.
EIA - Weekly Natural Gas Storage Report
Working gas in storage was 899 Bcf as of Friday, April 18, 2014, according to EIA estimates. This represents a net increase of 49 Bcf from the previous week. Stocks were 831 Bcf less than last year at this time and 1,008 Bcf below the 5-year average of 1,907 Bcf. In the East Region, stocks were 470 Bcf below the 5-year average following net injections of 17 Bcf. Stocks in the Producing Region were 412 Bcf below the 5-year average of 805 Bcf after a net injection of 22 Bcf. Stocks in the West Region were 127 Bcf below the 5-year average after a net addition of 10 Bcf. At 899 Bcf, total working gas is below the 5-year historical range.
NYMEX Natural Gas Week-to-Week Price Change
Natural Gas Futures - Five Year Price
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