Power Prices Gain Across Much of U.S. as Cold Boosts Demand

Feb 11, 2014 3:48 pm ET

Feb. 11 (Bloomberg) -- Spot wholesale electricity prices rose across much of the U.S. as lower-than-normal temperatures lifted demand above expectations.

Power use on the 13-state PJM Interconnection LLC network, the largest U.S. grid, averaged 110,275 megawatts at 2:25 p.m., a 1.3 percent increase from the day-ahead forecast of 108,828 megawatts, according to the grid’s website.

The low temperature today in Washington was 22 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 6 Celsius), 8 below normal, while in Boston the low was 14 degrees, 10 lower than average, according to AccuWeather Inc. in State College, Pennsylvania. In Houston, the low was 36 degrees, 12 below normal.

Spot power at PJM’s benchmark Western hub, which includes Washington more than doubled, advancing $118.60 to average $185.37 a megawatt-hour for the hour ended at 2 p.m. from the same time yesterday, grid data compiled by Bloomberg show. Prices at the Eastern hub, which includes New Jersey, rose $94.63 to average $181.17.

PJM West on-peak power traded $15.74 below the Eastern hub, compared with a discount of $9.22 yesterday and a three-month average discount of $11.48 for PJM West.

New York City spot power reversed earlier gains and fell $101.14, or 38 percent, to average $167.55 a megawatt-hour at 2 p.m., while Boston power advanced $13.13, or 6.7 percent, to average $209.62.

Boston Premium

New York on-peak power traded $1.90 below Boston, compared with a premium of $27.59 yesterday and a three-month average discount of $16.98 for New York.

In Texas, spot prices at the North hub, which includes Dallas, advanced $5.22, or 6.6 percent, to average $84.76 a megawatt-hour for the hour ended at 1 p.m. local time from the same time yesterday, while Houston hub prices jumped $15.51, or 23 percent, to average $84.04.

North hub on-peak power traded $8.42 above the Houston hub, compared with a premium of $13.60 yesterday and a three-month average premium of $2.20 for the North hub.

At the Indiana hub, a regional benchmark for the Midwest, spot power advanced $5.84, or 8.1 percent, to average $78.28 a megawatt-hour for the hour ended at 1 p.m. local time from the same time yesterday, the grid data show.

Northern California spot power rose $10.47, or 23 percent, to average $56.50 a megawatt-hour for the hour ended at noon local time from the same time yesterday, while Southern California prices jumped $12.79, or 29 percent, to average $56.32.

Cold weather is expected in the eastern U.S. this week as another winter storm moves through the region.

Ice, sleet and snow falling across the South today will sweep into the Northeast later this week, according to the National Weather Service.

--With assistance from Brian K. Sullivan in Boston. Editors: Bill Banker, Charlotte Porter