New England spot price edges past $175/MWh as oil units get deployed

The surge in Northeast power prices continues with the frigid weather.

Already in triple digits, the New England spot price increased another 5% to $175.69/MWh , according to Dec. 12 figures published by the Energy Information Administration (EIA).

Meanwhile, New York City saw its price escalate 125% to $165.59.

“It’s the cold temps and the gas price” together that are driving Northeast prices, said Natalia Mestvirishvili of Genscape. Mestvirishvili is a regional director for Genscape who analyzes the New York and New England markets.

“The main driver that we are seeing is the high gas prices,” Mestvirishvili said. “It’s made some of the oil units economic.” She added that New England has put increased effort into ensuring that oil units are available for reliability during times like this.

EIA figures show the New England natural gas price is up to $20.17/mmBtu. When gas gets that expensive, oil units can become economic, Mestvirishvili indicated.

Meanwhile, the NYMEX price was natural gas for Dec. 12 was listed by EIA at $4.35/mmBtu.

The weather impact is evident. Boston expects a high of only 25 degrees F on Dec. 12 and New York City expects a high of only 27 degrees.

Things also continue to be chilly in the Mid-Atlantic which saw its spot power price increase more than 35% to $89.56/MWh, according to EIA figures. The Baltimore forecast calls for a high of 30 degrees.

The National Weather Service said Dec. 12 that cold, arctic air moving across the Upper Midwest will bring Lake Effect snow downwind of the Great Lakes through Thursday. Snowfall accumulations of 1-2 feet are expected in some locations.

Meanwhile temperatures will be 10-20 degrees below normal from the Upper Midwest to the Southern Plains. Wind chill advisories are in effect for parts of the Midwest, according to the weather service.

Winter officially starts Dec. 21.

About Wayne Barber 4201 Articles
Wayne Barber, Chief Analyst for the GenerationHub, has been covering power generation, energy and natural resources issues at national publications for more than 20 years. Prior to joining PennWell he was editor of Generation Markets Week at SNL Financial for nine years. He has also worked as a business journalist at both McGraw-Hill and Financial Times Energy. Wayne also worked as a newspaper reporter for several years. During his career has visited nuclear reactors and coal mines as well as coal and natural gas power plants. Wayne can be reached at wayneb@pennwell.com.