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Hydro Storage Concerns Lead to Higher Prices

Hydro Storage Concerns Lead to Higher Prices

Mco Electricity - Average wholesale electricity prices increased in March as continued below-average inflows led hydro generators to conserve water. In addition, two 250MW units at the Huntly power station were out for maintenance, one for 17 days and the second for the whole month.

The average half-hour wholesale electricity price for the South Island reference point, Benmore, increased to 14.92 c/kWh in March, up from 7.81 c/kWh the previous month. Haywards, the North Island reference point, recorded 15.43 c/kWh, an increase from 8.72 c/kWh in February. Otahuhu, which is used as an indicator of upper North Island prices, increased to 16.04 c/kWh from 9.31 c/kWh in February.

Average daily demand was 97,009 megawatts, a decrease of 0.7% on the previous month's level. This decrease can be attributed to major industrial users cutting back on production in response to the higher prices.

Despite the outages at Huntly, the North Island generators contributed 59% of total New Zealand generation, up from 56% in February. This saw some southward flows on the HVDC in the later days of the month as South Island generators reduced their output.

Inflows into the major storage lakes throughout March were 70% of the average for the month. By month's end storage was 2,436GWh, 76% of average for this time of year.

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