Eastern spot power prices back into triple digits with latest winter blast

After a brief respite from triple-digit spot power prices, a late-winter blast has again caused energy and fuel prices to spike in much of the East, according to Energy Information Administration (EIA) data posted March 5.

The vast weather system even triggered a surge in the spot power price for the Houston market, according to EIA data.

New England ($120.88/MWh), New York City ($114.79/MWh) and the Mid-Atlantic ($114.08/MWh) were all back above the $100/MWh mark after a brief break from winter weather.

Temperatures were expected to be anywhere from 10 to 30 degrees F cooler than normal in localities ranging from Texas to the East on March 5.

New York City recorded the nation’s highest spot natural gas price at $14.30/mmBtu) followed by New England ($14.25/mmBtu) and the Mid-Atlantic ($12.21/mmBtu).

While the Midwest saw its spot power price up 31% from the prior business day (to $ 46.71/MWh), the real eye-opener was Houston at $84.25/MWh. Houston’s forecast called for a high temperature of less than 40 degrees on March 5.

With its high spot power price combined with a spot gas price of $3.26/mmBtu, Houston posted a spark spread of $61.47/MWh. The spark spread is a common metric for estimating the profitability of natural gas-fired electric generators.

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.