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Mid-Atlantic Power Gains Amid Hotter-Than-Normal Weather

Spot wholesale electricity prices in the mid-Atlantic climbed more than fourfold as above-normal temperatures triggered greater power consumption than expected.

In PJM Interconnection LLC’s Eastern hub, which includes New Jersey, eastern Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia, power demand touched 53,151 megawatts at 3 p.m., topping the forecast for the hour ended at 3:30 p.m. by 2,013 megawatts, or 3.9 percent, data from the grid manager showed.

The high temperature in Washington today was projected to reach 96 degrees Fahrenheit (36 Celsius), 7 above normal, according to AccuWeather Inc., of State College, Pennsylvania. New York City’s high was 89, 5 higher than usual, the National Weather Service said.

“With temperatures in the low- to mid-90s across the mid-Atlantic this afternoon, PJM demand is rising to levels that is putting stress on the transmission system,” said Brian McIntosh, a Boston-based power analyst for Genscape Inc. who tracks real-time power data in the PJM market.

Spot prices at PJM’s Eastern hub gained $302.59 to average $398.45 a megawatt-hour in the hour ended at 3 p.m. from the same time yesterday, grid data compiled by Bloomberg showed.

In PJM’s Western hub, which includes prices from Washington to Erie, Pennsylvania, power dropped $34.43, or 37 percent, to average $57.50 a megawatt-hour.

McIntosh said increased demand in the mid-Atlantic region led to constraints on a transmission line, causing prices in the Eastern hub to pass $500 at times.

The shutdown of Exelon Corp.’s Oyster Creek nuclear reactor decreased the amount of low-cost generation moving into the region, he said The unit went offline to replace equipment used to operate valves in the drywell, according to a company statement. The plant, about 60 miles east of Philadelphia, has a maximum capacity of 636 megawatts, the company said.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration cut its 2014 power demand estimate to 10.66 billion kilowatt hours per day, down from last month’s forecast of 10.69 billion.

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