U.S. East Coast Heat Wave May Boost Energy Use 30%

The Midwest and Northeast may use as much as 60 percent more energy to cool homes and businesses into next week amid another round of high temperatures.

The heat will probably peak along the northern U.S. and East Coast by July 17 with temperatures in the 90- to 100-degree Fahrenheit (32 to 37 Celsius) range, rising to 5 to 8 degrees above normal from Montana to the Canadian Maritimes, said Matt Rogers, president of Commodity Weather Group LLC. The area includes Chicago, Toronto, New York and Washington.

The temperatures may mean people use 30 to 60 percent more energy to cool down from Colorado to the Atlantic, said David Salmon, owner of Weather Derivatives in Belton, Missouri.

Heat-driven high electricity use can cause spot energy prices to rise as utilities try to meet demand, as well as boost prices for natural gas, which accounts for about 32 percent of the fuel used to make power in the U.S.

This year, prolonged high temperatures and lack of rain across the Midwest have also caused corn prices to jump, reaching $7.48 a bushel yesterday, the highest for a most-active contract since Sept. 13. The U.S. Agriculture Department cut its outlook for domestic corn output by 12 percent a month after predicting a record harvest.

The heat in the eastern U.S. and Canada may recede after the middle of next week, while hanging on mainly in the Midwest, said Rogers, who’s based in Bethesda, Maryland. By July 23 to July 27, Rogers predicts, the East Coast will have near-seasonal conditions while the hottest areas will be North and South Dakota, Iowa and western Illinois.

The temperature in New York’s Central Park is forecast to reach 90 tomorrow and be at 94 by early next week, according to the National Weather Service. Washington may also reach 90 tomorrow and then rise to 95 next week.

Chicago is forecast to reach 90 today and 97 early next week. Toronto is expected to hit 91 today and rise to 93, according to Environment Canada.

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