New York Wholesale Power Drops From 4-Week High as Heat Fades

April 19 (Bloomberg) -- New York City wholesale electricity fell for a second day as the heat of the day eased. Spot prices earlier rose to a one-month high as unusually hot weather boosted power amid lower supply.

Spot on-peak prices for the city’s five boroughs dropped after sunny skies gave way to cloud cover, limiting demand for power to run air conditioners. Demand came in above forecasts through the early afternoon. The Bayonne Energy Center in New Jersey and Astoria East plants in Queens were shut because of work on an electric transmission line and a natural gas pipeline, according to Genscape Inc.

New York City Zone J electricity fell $5.76, or 8.9 percent, to $58.85 a megawatt-hour at 5:14 p.m. after earlier topping $70, the highest level since March 18, according to data from the New York Independent System Operator Inc., or New York ISO. On-peak prices, which extend from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m., are averaging $59.14 this week, 9.5 percent higher than last week’s average of $54.03.

“Zone J has seen extended periods of elevated pricing this week due to ongoing generation outages in New York City,” said Brendyn Brooks-Stocking, a Boston-based Northeast power analyst at Genscape, which tracks real-time data at power plants and transmission lines. “With the relatively new and efficient Bayonne and Astoria East Energy plants offline, the ISO has been forced to procure more expensive generation instead.”

Bayonne Maintenance

The Bayonne plant is offline because of maintenance on the Transco gas pipeline, while both units at Astoria Energy LLC’s Astoria East Energy plant have been curtailed by transmission work in the city, he said. Both conditions are expected to continue until the last week of April, according to Brooks-Stocking.

Astoria Energy didn’t immediately respond to a call seeking comment.

The company’s two combined-cycle natural gas units have a total nameplate capacity of 620 megawatts, according to the New York ISO. The 512-megawatt Bayonne center, co-owned by Hess Corp. and ArcLight Capital Partners LLC, began operation last year and produces enough power for 500,000 homes in the New York City area, Hess said on its website. Both are fueled by natural gas.

Also in Queens, NRG Energy Corp.’s 510-megawatt Astoria plant is available to provide power to the grid “except for some minor local transmission work involving ConEd’s equipment,” David Gaier, a spokesman for NRG based in Princeton, New Jersey, said in an e-mail. Consolidated Edison Inc. operates the utility that provides electricity to 3.3 million customers in New York City and Westchester County.

Peak Use

The New York ISO predicted electricity use would peak at 6,531 megawatts today during the hour from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. Actual demand today rose as high as 6,580 megawatts at 12:10 p.m. Yesterday’s peak was 6,392 megawatts at 5:35 p.m.

The high temperature in the city climbed to 70 degrees Fahrenheit, above normal, versus 59 degrees yesterday, 3 below normal, according to AccuWeather Inc. in State College, Pennsylvania.

Above-normal temperatures in the Northeast and mid-Atlantic states today will be replaced by a cold front tonight and into the weekend, according to WSI Corp. in Andover, Massachusetts.

PJM’s benchmark Western hub, which includes prices from Erie, Pennsylvania, to Washington, slid $4.49, or 9.9 percent, to $40.91 a megawatt-hour at 5:14 p.m. from yesterday’s on-peak average, the least since April 5, data from the grid operator compiled by Bloomberg show.

Power from Connecticut to Maine declined $5.62, or 12 percent, to $42.61 a megawatt-hour, according to ISO New England Inc., which manages the region’s grid.

To contact the reporter on this story: Naureen S. Malik in New York at nmalik28@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Dan Stets at dstets@bloomberg.net