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Sunday, 28 April 2019 14:03

SHOULDER SEASON IS THE TIME BETWEEN HIGH FUEL DEMAND WINTER AND SUMMER PERIODS. NATURAL GAS STORAGE LEVELS RISE, AND MARKET PRICE STABILITY TRANSLATES TO AN ENVIRONMENT CONDUCIVE TO RATE LOCKING BOTH POWER AND GAS RETAIL SUPPLY CONTRACTS.

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Prompt month contract ended the week up 6%, settling at $2.57 / MMBtu.  The 12, 24, and 36-month contracts were also up, settling at $2.73; $2.69; and $2.68 / MMBtu respectively.  This is all driven by low demand due to stable spring temperatures in the Henry Hub service territory.  Local markets can see big volatility swings driven by unseasonable temperatures in the weather patterns.  While wholesale power and gas markets are stable, there are still significant benefits to rate locking power and gas retail supply contracts.  Allow your ESCO supply company to work for your service, and manage market volatility with fixed price contracts.  Variable rate contracts do not offer price protection (or value) in my own humble opinion.

New gas storage levels came out on April 25, 2019 for the week ending April 19, 2019. The overall storage level ended the week at 1,339 / MMBtu, a much-needed increase in the system of 92 MMBtu.  Natural gas storage levels are 21.6% below the 5-year average, and 4.3% below where they were 12 months ago.  Keep in mind that this is storage in the system.  As you can see from the charts, the storage levels are markedly below historical averages, but there are still ample supplies of natural gas in the ground that has yet to be tapped by producers. 

Variable rate plans are meant to be pegged to an index (keep these market movements in mind when evaluating comparable billing periods!). While pass through components such as capacity and ancillary services costs have come up, the commodity itself remains in check.  The low-price environment continues to present a great opportunity for commercial and residential customers to lock in power and gas rate plans for the next 12-month period and beyond.

Attractive opportunities are in the market for customers to hedge out price volatility.  Keep the risk where it belongs, with your well-seasoned energy supply partner.

Shoulder season continues, where much needed weekly injections into the natural gas storage system can be expected.  Storage levels are low.  This should cause concern to everyone on variable rate power and gas supply plans leading into the summer volatility season.

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