Anyone who follows the news will know that it’s dry in the South Island. The summer sun, which most of us are enjoying at the beach or in the garden, is troubling farmers, with land conditions the driest they’ve been in ten years.
Most people will also know that the majority of hydro-electric storage is in the South Island too. The hydro lakes, like Manapouri, Waitaki and Clutha, are fed by local rivers and ice melt from the Southern Alps.
So when it doesn’t rain and the rivers are low, or the winter snow melts away early, summer can put hydro storage under pressure. And of course when electricity supply can’t keep pace with demand, prices go up.
Energy News is reporting that South Island storage has fallen about 2 per cent during the past week, although overall there remains good storage in the hydro lakes thanks to a healthy winter.
That said, the market is speculating about likely conditions over the rest of the summer, and as a result the spot price of power has been running a bit higher over the past few weeks.
Gas is also contributing to higher prices with key plants at Otahuhu and Taranaki not operating at the moment.
So if you’re a Flick customer and you’re seeing slightly higher generation costs in your January bills, know that it reflects the market being a bit cautious due to the hot weather, and some supply constraints with significant gas offline.
It is a good time to check your usage patterns though and think about what you can shift around a little to chase night prices which have remained low. And while you’re at it, you could do a little rain dance just to be safe!