Look What the Heat Wave Is Doing for Power Prices in New York City

Temperatures in the Northeast are doing a number on electricity

US-WEATHER-HEAT

People cool off in a fountain on Washington Square Park in New York City in this July 16, 2013 file photo, as a heatwave descended on the city.

Photographer: Mehdi Taamallah/AFP via Getty Images

New York City residents will have to wait until Wednesday for a break from the first official heat wave in two years -- and from the high power prices that come with it.

Four days of temperatures at 90 or higher in Central Park have sent the cost of on-peak power to the highest level in three weeks.

As of 5 p.m. Monday, on-peak power in the city was $58.86 a megawatt-hour, the highest average price since July 28, according to grid data compiled by Bloomberg. Demand rose to 10,162 megawatts, the highest level for the hour since July 29, as people blasted their air conditioners to keep cool while temperatures reached a record for the date of 95 Fahrenheit (35 Celsius).

Spot power prices in New York City have surged as people blast their air conditioners too keep cool.
Spot power prices in New York City have surged as people blast their air conditioners too keep cool.

New York on-peak power was trading at a premium to Boston power on Monday amid the high consumption in the city.

The high temperature in New York on Tuesday is expected to reach 91 degrees Fahrenheit (33 Celsius), 8 degrees above normal, according to AccuWeather Inc. in State College, Pennsylvania.

Temperatures in New York City have soared above normal levels for this time of year.
Temperatures in New York City have soared above normal levels for this time of year.

Consolidated Edison Inc., the city’s utility, encouraged residents to watch their electricity use. Customers were advised to reduce heat in their homes by running appliances such as ovens, washing machines, dryers and dishwashers early in the morning or late at night, when it’s cooler and power demand is lower.

A heat wave is defined by meteorologists as three consecutive days with highs reaching 90 or above. New York’s forecast calls for temperatures to decline to the more seasonal mid-80s on Wednesday, with another heat wave possible at the end of the month.

Temperatures, consumption and prices also were higher in the mid-Atlantic states on Monday. Demand surged on the 13-state PJM Interconnection LLC network, the nation’s largest power grid.

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