U.S. spot electricity prices jump amid above-normal temperatures

WHOLESALE POWER in the U.S. Northeast and Midwest surged as warmer-than-normal weather prompted households and businesses to turn on their air conditioners.
Posted 4/17/12

NEW YORK - Wholesale power in the U.S. Northeast and Midwest surged as warmer-than-normal weather prompted households and businesses to turn on their air conditioners.

New York City spot power traded between $30 and $192.07 a megawatt-hour from 10 a.m. to 12:15 p.m., and was at similar levels across the grid, according to the New York Independent System Operator Inc. Power traded at $27.95 at 3:50 p.m. on Monday, April 16

New England wholesale electricity jumped to $117.79 to $118.25 a megawatt-hour for the 25 minutes ended 10:40 a.m., the highest prices since March 7, from the $30-range an hour earlier, according to ISO New England Inc., which operates the grid extending from Connecticut to Maine. Prices were at $40.67 at 12:10 p.m.

Power on the mid-Atlantic grid climbed to a high of $196 a megawatt-hour at the Baltimore Gas & Electric hub at 4:20 p.m. and to $162.20 at the Pepco Holdings Inc. hub in Washington, according to PJM Interconnection LLC, the region’s grid operator. Power at the hubs was in the low $30s two hours earlier.

Warmer-than-normal weather and transmission constraints contributed to the price surges. The temperature rose to 86 degrees Fahrenheit (30 Celsius) in New York, 24 degrees above normal, according to the National Weather Service. Washington rose to a high of 88 degrees.

Demand for power in the five boroughs of New York was 7,521 megawatts at 3:45 p.m., 2.2 percent above the forecast for that time, according to the New York ISO.

Power use across New England was 16,388 megawatts at 3:30 p.m., below the forecast of 16,720 megawatts for that time, according to the region’s grid operator.

Transmission constraints and a drop in wind generation boosted prices in Indiana and Michigan.

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