Author Craig Markham

Craig Markham


Craig Markham has worked in the energy industry since 1991. As CPower’s Executive Director of Market Development for the ISO-NE and NYISO markets, Craig is responsible for keeping CPower and its hundreds of New York demand response customers abreast of market conditions and regulatory issues.

NYISO is Ready for Summer Demand. DR Customers Should be Ready, too.

By Craig Markham | August 17, 2016

What can demand response participants expect in New York this summer? Let’s take a look at a few factors.

NYISO reports adequate summer supply, though concerns loom in Western New York…
On May 19, 2016, NYISO issued its ritual summer press release stating, “Electric supplies in New York are expected to be adequate to meet forecasted demand this summer.” However, at the time there was considerable stakeholder trepidation over potential transmission constraints in Western New York arising from the recent retirements of the Dunkirk Steam and Huntley Generation stations. There was an anecdotal sense that energy and reserves pricing in the early spring was already showing more volatility than normal.

NYISO has undertaken a number of initiatives over the past 18 months to bolster infrastructure in the region to improve transmission flows and reactive capacity. They have also implemented changes in their intraday forecasting procedures for the region to better manage congestion, in an attempt to minimize real-time pricing volatility.

How have these factors affected in the markets thus far…
The concern didn’t appear to much spill-over into the capacity market. The Rest of State Strip auction cleared at $3.62 for Summer 2016, up only 12 cents from the summer of 2015, despite the unit retirements. Spot auction prices jumped up to $5.27 in May, but have since retreated back near the Strip price at $3.64 for August. On balance, not a significant deviation from the prior year. And like the previous year, there have so far been no dispatches for Special Case Resource (SCR) customers.

In the 10-minute synchronous reserves market, the 12-month rolling average 5-minute real-time price in the West zone (Zone A) is actually down by almost 20% over the past year. Over the same period, the standard deviation in prices has increased by about 6%, so there has been a slight uptick in volatility. Moreover, similar trends can be observed in neighboring zones (B and C) that do not have major transmission constraints.

In the real-time energy market, the 12-month rolling average congestion component of the 5-minute real-time price in Zone A is up by more than 32% over the past year. Volatility has also increased as the standard deviation of congestion charges is up by more than 21% over that same time period. Congestion charges are also more than 20 times higher over the past year than in neighboring Zone C.

So it appears that NYISO’s system measures have so far confined the impact of mothballing Dunkirk and Huntley to higher pricing in the energy market. And while there appears to be no significant impact on the capacity and reserves market, the increased congestion and volatility reflected in energy pricing raises the likelihood of a capacity dispatch when the overall New York system becomes more constrained under hot weather conditions. Demand response customers in these western regions should be prepared for potentially more curtailment calls from NYISO than they’ve seen in previous summers.

To learn more about how to be better prepared for potential grid instability this summer in New York, contact Craig or any member of CPower’s New York Team.