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Electricity prices variable in January

Electricity prices variable in January

Average daily prices varied widely over January. The most significant price event occurred on 9 January when the HVDC inter-island connector was damaged during a storm. The resulting HVDC outage caused the North and South Islands to become self-reliant in terms of power supply. The impact was felt particularly in the North Island, where the Otahuhu B thermal power station was out for maintenance.

This created a smaller margin of generation over demand and consequently spot prices rose substantially. The highest daily average price at Haywards was 27.92c/kWh on 12 January. Conversely, in the South Island the plentiful supply of generation availability resulted in average daily prices falling to a minimum at Benmore of 0.44c/kWh on 10 January. For the remainder of the month, prices remained within a range of 4 to 8c/kWh.

The average price for January at the Haywards reference node was 6.96 c/kWh, up from December's average of 4.58 c/kWh. Benmore, the South Island reference node, also increased from an average of 4.15 c/kWh in December to 4.91 c/kWh in January. The average price at Otahuhu, a typical upper North Island reference node, increased to 7.58 c/kWh in January from 4.94 c/kWh in December.

Hydro storage levels ended the month at 119% of average, the highest level since January 2002. Storage increased from 2949 GWh at the beginning of the month to 3690 GWh on 31 January. The inflows for the month were 2839 GWh, 110% of average for the time of year.

Average daily demand in January was 95.6 GWh, a 1.6% increase on the January 2003 level of 94.052 GWh. Demand in December 2003 was 95.871 GWh.

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