Wholesale Power Surges in New York as Temperatures Soar

Wholesale electricity jumped in New York as hot, humid weather from Massachusetts to North Carolina prompted homes and businesses to crank up air conditioners.

Spot power in New York City rose to an average of $339.82 a megawatt-hour from 7 a.m. through 3 p.m. after soaring as high as $1,647.56 at 10:55 a.m., according to the New York Independent System Operator Inc., which manages the state grid. Electricity traded yesterday for delivery for those peak-demand hours today was priced at an average of $57.34.

The high in New York today was 88 degrees Fahrenheit (32 Celsius), 13 above normal, while Baltimore reached 96, according to the National Weather Service. Humidity in New York may rise as high as 93 percent later today, said AccuWeather Inc. in State College, Pennsylvania.

“Today’s demand is expected to be up with the heat and humidity, but power supplies are more than adequate to meet that demand,” Michael Clendenin, a spokesman for Consolidated Edison Inc. in New York, said in an e-mail. A cold front forecast to move in later today and tomorrow will “bring temperatures back to normal by the end of the week,” he said.

Most power for a given day is purchased the previous day in what is known as the day-ahead market. Spot prices can jump when demand exceeds the amount secured in trading a day earlier.

New York Grid

Hourly prices across the New York state grid rose above $100 a megawatt-hour after 7 a.m. with the start of the work day. Electricity use on the grid was 27,685 megawatts as of 4:54 p.m., 8.3 percent above yesterday’s forecast for that time.

“Temperatures are climbing to highs not experienced since last August,” David Flanagan, a spokesman for the New York grid operator, said in an e-mail. Demand response programs were activated to encourage large consumers to reduce consumption during peak hours, he said.

The New York ISO issued a thunderstorm alert to market participants just before 3 p.m., resulting in transmission bottlenecks and bolstering prices, said Brendyn Brooks-Stocking, a Boston-based Northeast power analyst with Genscape Inc., a real-time data power provider.

Today’s spot-market price gains won’t affect bills for Con Ed customers immediately because rates are set by contract, according to Clendenin. The utility has more than 3 million customers in New York City and Westchester County.

New England Prices

Spot power across New England rose to $429 a megawatt-hour at 3 p.m. after averaging $77.79 for the hour ended 2 p.m., based on gains in Connecticut and Western Massachusetts.

The high in Worcester, Massachusetts, may be 79 degrees, 9 above normal. Western Massachusetts power averaged $290.14 megawatt-hour from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., or six times more than the day-ahead prices for that time, according to data from ISO New England Inc.

Demand on the mid-Atlantic grid operated by PJM Interconnection LLC, which spans 13 states from New Jersey to North Carolina and as far west as Illinois, was 131,099 as of 4:30 p.m., 6.6 percent more than the day-ahead forecast.

Prices have traded from lows that were mostly in the $20s and $30s per megawatt-hour to more than $600 in some of the more densely populated areas where transmission bottlenecks aren’t unusual, according to PJM data.

Public Service Enterprise Group’s territory in New Jersey averaged $275 a megawatt-hour from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., after rising to a high today of $451.75. Spot power at the Dominion Resources Inc. zone in Virginia and North Carolina jumped to $601.07 at 4:35 p.m. after averaging $213.38 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.