Tēnā koutou, Flicksters! Welcome to 2019, and the first of our market updates for the new year. The summer season is upon us, bringing with it some warmer weather (just in time for the end of school holidays - yippee!) and generally lower rainfall levels.
It’s all the stuff that counts when it comes to electricity generation and pricing, so let’s take a squizz at the critical happenings in the electricity market, and what impact they could have on your weekly bill and product choices.
Ho-hum hydro levels
Most areas of Aotearoa have been lapping up the warmer weather and loving the long, balmy evenings. But what’s good for BBQs and BYC hasn’t been great for hydro-lake levels. The snowpack above the Waitaki catchment, which accounts for a decent chunk of spring and summer inflows when it melts, is sitting at about 49% below average for this time of year.
Overall, current national hydro storage was 9 per cent below normal for mid-January, which partially accounts for the higher summer spot prices we’ve seen so far. For those who’re keen on the drill-down details, head over to Transpower for more information.
Usage is up
Demand across the past week is up 4.4% on the same time last year. According to Transpower this has largely been due to strong irrigation demand in the South Island. It’s also thought that the additional potline at the New Zealand Aluminium Smelter will be having an impact on the demand side of things.
(Interesting side note: As one of our savvy Flicksters reminded us, Manapōuri power station was built specifically for the smelter way back in the 1960s, so the smelter isn’t ‘taking away’ power from the grid in the sense that it is usual for Southland to generate much more power than it needs (even with the smelter’s large demand) through Manapōuri and the Clutha River Power stations. This surplus is then exported north to the rest of the grid. Even without the smelter’s demand, the generation in the area far exceeds the ability of the transmission circuit to get it all out of the region. That said, it still remains a factor in the national demand/supply equation).
What’s ahead for planned outages
Along with some smaller scheduled thermal plant outages, it’s also just been announced that the offshore pipeline at Pohokura (yep, that one) will be shut down again for a total of 30 days during February and April while planned maintenance is undertaken on the rig and the well. The gas field’s owner, OMV, says that onshore wells will remain available to flow during the maintenance, which is good news.
It’s a different kettle of fish from the unplanned pipeline outages of last year, and the market has time to prepare given that we know about it in advance. Most of our #CleverFlickers out there will be aware that spot prices, which change every 30 minutes, are influenced by a number of factors (including hydro levels, the amount of wind at our wind farms, and overall demand), however it’s quite likely this outage will have an impact on spot pricing during this time. Rest assured, we’ll keep you posted!
Y’all know we love giving folks power over their power, and we’re stoked to be able to offer genuine choice depending on what kind of power user you are. We have a range of pricing plans and payment options available to suit your needs - head on over to our website for a browse, or give us a call on 08004FLICK so we can chat about the best options for you. We’re always here to help!