South Australia

South Australia hits the Cumulative Price Threshold

For only the 5th time in 11 years of NEM history (and the 3rd time for South Australia) four consecutive days of price spikes have forced the Cumulative Price to the Threshold, and AEMO has imposed price caps to prevent retailers from going bust.

Massive Demand, Huge Prices, Load Shedding and the Cumulative Price Threshold (and lessons learnt?)

Wednesday 28th January saw demand across the NEM jump to unprecedented levels, setting a new record of 34,843MW at 16:00 NEM time. On Thursday 29th January, we saw the demand increase still further, leading to prices that stayed high for much of the day (to the point where the Cumulative Price Threshold was reached in VIC and SA and price caps were imposed), and a relatively small amount of involuntary load shedding occurring in VIC and SA.

New record all-time NEM-wide demand (and for VIC and SA) today!

The day is not over yet, but we thought you would be interested in the attached snapshot highlighting the first of the occasions on the day when prices jumped to VOLL in SA and VIC as a result of searing temperatures stopping the tennis, and melting VIC and SA into new demand records for each region.

Our review of the heat wave in South Australia

With demand soaring, and interconnectors constrained, generators in South Australia and Victoria took what opportunity they had to force the price high. So successful were the South Australian generators that the Cumulative Price Threshold was reached in South Australia and, under NEM Rules, an Administered Price Cap was applied for a period of time.

Winter 2002 – Generator Market Power

From the start of the NEM through until 2001, the NEM was typified by a pricing dichotomy with sustained rock-bottom pricing in NSW, Snowy and Victoria and high and volatile pricing in the extremities (Queensland and South Australia).

In 2001, the QNI interconnection and many generation projects were developed. This led to the convergence of prices between all regions, and the disappearance of price volatility – circumstances that were a real threat to generator profitability.

In response, generators adopted an approach that came to be known as “the economic withholding of capacity” to engineer volatility into the market throughout winter 2002 – and hence higher prices as a result., and generator behaviour.

26th January 2006 – high demand and price in Victoria and SA

There was a high level in demand in Victoria on Thursday 26th January 2006.

This was especially remarkable, considering that it was an Australia Day public holiday – when commercial (though not industrial or residential) demand could be expected to be somewhat lower than would otherwise be the case.

Coupled with this level of demand was a significant spike in price that lasted several hours.

23rd January 2006 – new record for peak NEM-Wide demand

Based on forecasts NEMMCO had been providing through their PASA process, we expected that it might prove that this week would deliver huge demand levels, and high prices.

Not to disappoint, the market did deliver high levels of demand in all regions:
(a) Peak demand levels were reduced somewhat from the huge levels the previous week in Victoria and South Australia;
(b) Demand levels were also still building to the record level to be experienced the following week in NSW;
(c) Peak demand levels in Queensland were fairly steady (and high) for most weeks of summer.
(d) In combination, a new NEM-wide peak demand target of 30,994MW was set on Monday 23rd January.