Hottest September in Decade Has Power Up From N.Y. to L.A.

  • High temperature in New York City sets record for the day
  • Wholesale Power in California soars to $416.35 a megawatt-hour

Spot power prices were surging from New York City to Los Angeles on Tuesday as customers blasted air conditioners to keep cool in what’s projected to be the hottest September since 2005.

High temperatures and humidity “will be the rule for the next couple of days” across the Northeast and mid-Atlantic, WSI Corp., a weather services company in Andover, Massachusetts, said in a note to clients. Tuesday’s high in New York’s Central Park reached 97, while in Boston readings peaked at 96, setting daily records for both cities, the National Weather Service said. As of 3 p.m., Washington was 92. An excessive heat warning was issued for the Los Angeles area as part of the region braced for triple-digit temperatures.

The abnormally hot weather sent power demand rising above forecasts across U.S. electricity grids. Power system operator PJM Interconnection LLC, which operates a system spanning 13 states in the eastern U.S., warned that hot weather over the next two days may result in above-forecast power generation outages. New England’s grid manager issued a similar alert.

“Clearly September is starting unusually warm, and it looks like it will
continue warm much of the rest of the month,” Todd Crawford, a meteorologist with WSI, said by e-mail. “It looks like the hottest September since 2005 at this point. It isn’t crazy to think we have a pretty good shot at breaking the September records set in the 1920s and 1930s.”

Spot wholesale power at the benchmark Boston hub surged $289.78 to average $340.84 a megawatt-hour in the hour ended 2 p.m. local time on Tuesday from the same time Sept. 4, grid data compiled by Bloomberg show. Power in the New York market climbed $72.20, or 148 percent, to $120.98 a megawatt-hour.

Electricity demand on PJM’s network jumped 3.3 percent at 2 p.m. from the same time Sept. 4, data from the network manager show. Consumption on the ISO New England Inc. system climbed 31 percent.

Searing heat in parts of Southern California forced the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power to issue a conservation notice to customers.

Power at Southern California’s SP15 hub that serves Los Angeles rose 17-fold to average $416.35 a megawatt-hour in the hour ended 3 p.m. local time on Tuesday, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

The high in New York’s Central Park broke an old mark for the day set in 1919 and turned Tuesday into the hottest day of the year there, said Carlie Buccola, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Upton, New York.

The hot weather is “pushing electricity usage levels above the ISO’s expectations for today,” Lindsey Cohen, New England power analyst at Genscape Inc., said by e-mail.

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