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Eastern U.S. Heat Wave Boosts Wholesale Power on Three Grids

Spot wholesale electricity on grids stretching from New England to the mid-Atlantic and Midwestern states gained as a heat wave spurred demand for power to run air conditioners.

The regions will see summer-like heat and humidity into the weekend, according to WSI Corp. in Andover, Massachusetts. PJM Interconnection LLC, which manages the grid from New Jersey into North Carolina and Illinois, expects demand to climb to 134,876 megawatts for the hour ending at 6 p.m., an eight-month high.

Spot on-peak power at PJM’s benchmark Western hub, which includes prices from Erie, Pennsylvania, to Washington, rose $13.39, or 25 percent, to $67.20 a megawatt-hour at 3 p.m. from the same time yesterday, data from grid operator show.

New York City power gained $17.62, or 41 percent, to $61.09 a megawatt-hour while New England prices increased $10.16, or 22 percent, to $55.54, according to the grid operators.

“Short-term prices are very firm with the heat wave,” said Tom Hahn, vice president of U.S. power derivatives at brokerage ICAP Energy LLC in Durham, North Carolina. “These are prices we haven’t seen this high in quite some time.”

The high temperature in New York City today may reach 90 degrees Fahrenheit (32 Celsius), 15 higher than the usual reading, according to AccuWeather Inc. in State College, Pennsylvania. Washington’s high may reach 93 degrees, 14 above normal, while Boston will be 20 above the historic average at 90 degrees.

New England

ISO New England Inc. issued local system alerts this morning for Rhode Island and southeastern Massachusetts as a precautionary measure, as normal spring transmission and power-plant maintenance limits supplies during hot and humid weather expected over the next several days, Lacey Ryan, a spokeswoman for the grid operator in Holyoke, Massachusetts, said in an e-mail.

The action “essentially calls for all non-urgent maintenance to be halted,” she said.

ISO New England expects demand on its six-state grid to increase 23 percent to 19,950 megawatts from yesterday’s peak. Peak power usage in New York City will be 8,788 megawatts from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m., the most for the hour since Sept. 7, according to the New York Independent System Operator Inc.

“It’s the first hot day of the summer,” said Michael Clendenin, a spokesman for Consolidated Edison Inc., a New York-based utility. “We expect usage to be up. We continue to ask people to conserve where possible to save themselves money and stay cool too.”

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