Volatile energy markets are pushing some facilities to use wholesale market pricing forecasts to help develop retail energy budgets. Such forecasts are found as futures pricing (e.g., NYMEX), forward market projections (e.g., Platt's), private energy consulting firms (e.g., Enercast), and government sources (e.g., DOE, ISOs, PUCs). While not always accurate, they provide quantitative information useful for annual energy budgeting.
Retail energy prices may, however, be only indirectly related to wholesale pricing, or may lag behind the wholesale market, making short-term projections speculative. The usefulness of such predictions depends on one's sensitivity to wholesale market pricing and his expectations for forecasts of them.