Spot Power Doubles in Mid-Atlantic Region With Higher Demand

May 15, 2014 5:22 pm ET

May 15 (Bloomberg) -- Spot wholesale electricity prices in PJM Interconnection LLC’s benchmark Western hub more than doubled as power consumption exceeded forecasts.

Demand across PJM’s 13-state network, which extends from the mid-Atlantic region to the Midwest, averaged 95,168 megawatts for the hour ended at 4 p.m. East Coast time, 0.4 percent higher than the day-ago period, and 2.5 percent above the day-ahead forecast for the period ending at 4:30 p.m.

“Prices are up today because load is concentrated in the mid-Atlantic and under-commitment is driving up both energy and congestions costs,” said Diana Chiyangwa, a Boston-based power analyst for Genscape Inc.

Spot prices at PJM’s Western hub gained $44.17 to average $83.04 a megawatt-hour for the hour ending at 4 p.m. from the same time yesterday, grid data compiled by Bloomberg show.

With those price gains, spot on-peak power in PJM West so far today has averaged $93.44, up from the three-month average of $66.18. On-peak prices span 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.

A disruption in the normal frequency of 60 hertz in the Baltimore Gas & Electric utility area indicate an unidentified generating unit may have tripped offline earlier today, contributing to transmission bottlenecks, Chiyangwa said.

Washington appeared to reach the day’s high temperature at 2 p.m. of 80 degrees Fahrenheit (27 Celsius), 5 above normal, according to AccuWeather Inc. in State College, Pennsylvania.

Spot power climbed above $50 in California as higher-than- normal temperatures gripped the region and wildfires raged across part of the state, disrupting high-voltage transmissions.

California Heat

“We have a double impact of having heat in Northern California and heat in Southern California,” said Todd DeCook, director of Iberdrola Renewable’s power trading unit in Portland, Oregon. “That’s pretty unusual for this time of the year. You’ve got cooling demand in the Northwest and you’ve got extreme cooling in the south. It’s a scenario where the impact of demand is kicking in a little early as far as summer time.”

Spot power at Northern California’s NP15 hub, which includes deliveries to San Francisco, climbed $7.86, or 16 percent, from the day-ago period to average $55.72 for the hour ended at 1 p.m. local time.

Power at the SP15 hub, serving Los Angeles and San Diego, gained $8.12, or 17 percent, to average $56.48.