Wholesale Electricity prices to lowest in five years

Wholesale electricity prices traded at the lowest in five years as the coronavirus lockdown crimped energy demand, especially from businesses in NSW and Queensland.

The latest quarterly report from the Australian Energy Market Operator confirmed the downward trend in prices over the past 18 months.

The impact of the coronavirus on energy demand was not as bad as predicted.

Average spot wholesale prices in the National Electricity Market were about $32 to $43 per megawatt-hour in the second quarter – down between 48 per cent to 68 per cent on the same period in 2019 and at the lowest since 2015.

Although the coronavirus lockdowns effectively shut the CBDs of Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane for three months, the AEMO report said the impact on energy demand was modest.

Even though thousands of people worked from home during state lockdowns, AEMO said demand was only 2 per cent lower than the second quarter last year.

COVID-19 contributed an estimated 2.1 per cent reduction in demand, with the biggest impact in Queensland (4.8 per cent) and NSW (2.6 per cent). But this was offset by increased demand in South Australia due to cooler weather.

Large industrial users, such as smelters and mines, continued normal operations during the crisis, with COVID-19 safe guidelines for workers.

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