Big chill roils Northeast markets for spot power, natural gas

A blast of bitterly cold temperatures has driven up spot power and natural gas prices in the Northeast, according to data posted Jan. 7 by the Energy Information Administration (EIA).

New York City showed a spot power price of $120.67/MWh and New England had a spot power price of $101.87/MWh. The Mid-Atlantic wasn’t far behind at $81.83/MWh.

The Mid-Atlantic recorded the highest increase in spot power prices from the prior business day at almost 107%.

The wintry weather also drove up spot natural gas prices in the Northeast. New York City also had the highest spot natural gas price at $18.11/mmBtu. The Mid-Atlantic and New England also showed spot natural gas prices in the teens.

The spark spread, a metric used to estimate profitability of natural gas-fired electric generation, was listed at zero, according to the EIA figures.

“Temperatures are in the single digits across the Northeast driving strong demand this morning and this is expected to persist through tomorrow,” Genscape Regional Director for New York and New England Natalia Mestvirishvili said. “Oil units are ramping up in the real time across New England,” she added.

The cold temperatures and high prices bring to mind last year’s ‘polar vortex,’ which triggered numerous studies by analysts and planning sessions by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and regional transmission organizations.

The system operators are “definitely better prepared this year,” Mestvirishvili added.

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