New England power costs increased in 2013, 2014, EIA reports

High power prices are nothing particularly new for electricity customers in New England, according to the latest Electricity Monthly Update issued by Energy Information Administration (EIA).

Average monthly residential electricity prices in New England rose in calendar years 2013 and 2014, EIA said in the March 4 update.

The monthly residential electricity price in New England increased from an average of 15.4 cents per kilowatt-hour (KWh) in January 2013 to 18.3 cents/KWh in December 2013, a 19% increase, and 17.2 cents/KWh in January 2014 to 18.8 cents/KWh in December 2014, a 9.7 %, EIA reported.

New England residential customers have historically paid higher prices for electricity compared to the rest of the country. Since 2003, New England has had the highest residential rates in the United States compared to other U.S. regions and the nation as a whole, EIA said.

The only exception is in the state of Hawaii, which because of its remoteness and dependence on oil imports has the highest rates in the nation, EIA added.

The price increases in 2013 and 2014 are partly because of the cold winter weather and partly because of constraints in delivering natural gas to New England power plants.

Since the early 2000’s, New England has become more dependent on natural gas as a generation fuel (increasing from 29% in 2001 to 45% in 2013 to 43 % through November 2014), EIA reported.

Nationally, heating degree days in December 2014 decreased 14.7% compared to last December, as the country experienced much warmer temperatures compared to last December 2013, EIA said in the monthly update.

Warmer than normal temperatures lead to lower retail sales volumes in 44 states and the District of Columbia, EIA said.

Meanwhile, coal stockpiles increased 7% from the previous month.

More information can be found at http://www.eia.gov/electricity/monthly/update/

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.