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Power Prices Rise in Northeast on Nuclear Reactor Work

May 14 (Bloomberg) -- Spot wholesale electricity in the Northeast jumped as demand exceeded expectations and a Massachusetts nuclear reactor was shut for maintenance.

Power use on the ISO New England Inc. network was 14,211 megawatts at 3:15 p.m. New York time, versus the day-ahead forecast of 14,200 megawatts, according to the grid’s website.

The high temperature today in Boston may reach 61 degrees Fahrenheit (16 Celsius), 9 above yesterday, according to AccuWeather Inc. in State College, Pennsylvania.

Spot power in Boston advanced $11.99, or 34 percent, to average $47.14 a megawatt-hour for the hour ended at 3 p.m. from the same time yesterday, grid data compiled by Bloomberg show. Prices jumped 88 percent earlier in the day. New York City electricity more than doubled, rising $23.87 to average $46.35.

New York on-peak power traded $10.84 below Boston, compared with a discount of $8.34 yesterday and a three-month average discount of $10.34 for New York.

The higher prices in the Northeast came as Entergy Corp. removed its Pilgrim 1 reactor in Plymouth, Massachusetts, from service to address low-level equipment needs that may challenge reliability, according to Joyce McMahon, a company spokeswoman.

The timing of the outage was discussed and planned with the grid operator.

Work on the unit will include piping, valves, pump seals and electrical equipment.

Massachusetts Reactor

The reactor can generate up to 680 megawatts of energy, enough to power 550,000 homes, according to the facility’s website.

The Northeast price increase came even as natural gas futures traded near a six-week low in New York. About 31 percent of U.S. gas supplies are consumed by electricity generators.

In Texas, spot power at the North hub, which includes Dallas, rose $5.26, or 21 percent, to average $29.90 a megawatt-hour for the hour ended at 2 p.m. local time from the same time yesterday. Houston hub prices advanced $4.85, or 19 percent, to average $29.90.

Wind-power production on the Electric Reliability Council of Texas Inc. grid averaged 3,424 megawatts for the 2 p.m. hour, below the day-ahead forecast of 4,310. Wind accounted for almost 10 percent of the power generated on the grid last year.

Spot power at PJM Interconnection LLC’s benchmark Western hub, which includes Washington, fell $104.97, or 68 percent, to average $48.85 a megawatt-hour at 3 p.m. New York time, while prices at the Eastern hub, which includes New Jersey, gained $1.61, or 4.2 percent, to average $39.99.

PJM West on-peak power traded $3.17 above the Eastern hub, compared with a premium of $51.10 yesterday and a three-month average discount of $7.68 for PJM West.

To contact the reporter on this story: Harry R. Weber in Houston at hweber14@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Dan Stets at dstets@bloomberg.net Bill Banker, Charlotte Porter

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