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Sunday, 24 November 2019 12:47

THIS WEEK’S REPORTED NATURAL GAS WITHDRAWALS (FOR THE PRIOR WEEK) WERE BIG. IT WAS CLOSE TO A TRIPLE DIGIT REDUCTION IN THE SYSTEM, DRIVEN BY COLD SEASONAL TEMPERATURES. RATE LOCK TODAY FOR THE IMMINENT VOLATILITY PERIOD.

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Prompt month natural gas contract settled flat for the week at $2.67 / MMBtu.  The 12, 24, and 36-month contracts also were unchanged for the week, settling at $2.48; $2.48; and $2.48 / MMBtu respectively.  Expect the prompt month natural gas contract to experience price volatility due to colder weather conditions.  The curve signifies a great time to lock in your retail power and gas rates for longer stretches of time.  Those customers on variable price plans will see the volatility in their unhedged power and gas prices.  Take risk off the table with the low term spread environment.  Allow your ESCO supply company to work for your business or residence, and manage market volatility with fixed price contracts for term length.  Variable rate contracts do not offer price protection (or value) in my own opinion.

New gas storage levels came out on November 21, 2019 for the week ending November 15, 2019. The overall storage level ended the week at 3,638 / MMBtu, a decrease in the system of 94 MMBtu.  Natural gas storage levels are 1.6% below the 5-year average, and 16.2% above where they were 12 months ago.  Keep in mind that this is storage in the system.  There are still ample supplies of natural gas in the ground that has yet to be tapped by producers.  Expect to see similar natural gas storage withdrawals as customers need heating fuels for their residences and businesses.  This will constrain supplies and drive prices higher as power plants compete for fuel to generate electricity at the wholesale level.

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.  As a customer, you have the choice to decide who holds the price volatility risk.  Protect yourselves with fixed price contracts.  Those customers who elect a variable rate plan are 100% exposed to price volatility driven by weather and other market conditions.  Allow your supply company to do their job and manage the volatility by offering you a fixed price contract.

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.  Winter season is arguably the high point of wholesale natural gas and power price volatility.  This is not a risk that customers should be exposed to.

November begins the start of our heating degree tracking charts.  Heating Degree Days represent the average weekly temperatures netted against 65 degrees.  They represent a sign of heating fuel demand.  The more heating degree days cities such as NYC display, the higher the demand for fuels such as natural gas, and the higher prices go for natural gas, and electricity.  We benchmark the weekly heating degree days against the 5-year comparable weekly statistic.  It is a great indication of price volatility that customers on variable rate supply plans expose themselves to.

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