What polar vortex? New England spot price falls below $51/MWh

Less than a week after seeing spot power prices surge above $220/MWh and spot natural gas prices top $30/mmBtu, power companies are breathing easier in the East and Midwest on Jan. 13.

The so-called “polar vortex” last week resulted in dramatic increases in demand for power and natural gas last week, resulting in records in various parts of the country. Expect to see many companies and government agencies issue comments in the weeks to come on how the extreme cold was handled.

As often happens during winter, New England recorded the highest spot price in the country – but it was only $50.28/MWh, according to Energy Information Administration (EIA) figures.

EIA reported Southern California ($45.06/MWh) and Northern California ($44.61/MWh) actually had the second and third highest spot power prices in the nation posted Jan. 13. That’s higher than New York City ($41.66) and the Mid-Atlantic ($41.16/MWh), two Eastern regions that saw prices surge past $220 the prior week due to frigid temperatures.

New England and the Northwest tied for having the highest regional spot gas prices in the country at $4.58/mmBtu. The Mid-Atlantic had the lowest spot gas in the nation at $3.80/mmBtu.

The National Weather Service said Monday Jan. 13 that strong winds and mountain snow will continue to impact parts of the Rockies and Plains to begin the workweek. Several inches of addition snow combined with strong winds will make travel hazardous through mountain passes in this region.

Denver is expecting a high temperature of 48 degrees F with a west wind that could gust as high as 36 miles per hour, according to the NWS. Seattle is expecting a high of 50 degrees with a southwest wind that could exceed 20 miles per hour. After suffering subzero temperatures for much of last week, Chicago is expecting a high of 44 degrees on Jan. 13.

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.