East Coast Power Gains as New York City Sets Demand Record

wholesale power from Maine to Virginia rose after grid operators warned of supply constraints, as hot weather drove demand toward record highs.

New York City demand surged to an all-time high of 13,214 megawatts at 2 p.m., Consolidated Edison Inc., which owns the city’s utility, said. ISO New England Inc. declared a “power caution” today because available capacity is insufficient to meet anticipated demand plus reserve requirements. The grid operator expects power use to climb to 27,850 megawatts today, the highest level since a record in August 2006.

Heat warnings and advisories are in place from Maine to Iowa and southern Canada as the heat wave enters its sixth day in many places, according to the National Weather Service. The high in Boston may be 101 degrees Fahrenheit (38 Celsius), 19 above normal, and Washington may be 8 higher than the norm at 97, said AccuWeather Inc. in State College, Pennsylvania.

“We’ve entered into a capacity deficiency and so we’re tapping into our reserves, which are there for situations like this,” Lacey Ryan, a spokeswoman for ISO New England in Holyoke, Massachusetts, said in an e-mail. “It’s one of the tools in our toolkit that we can use to bring the system back into balance.”

Boston Prices

Spot on-peak power for Boston jumped $118.48, or 65 percent, to average $300.96 a megawatt-hour as of 4 p.m. versus yesterday’s full-day average, headed for a record high based on data going back to 2005, grid data compiled by Bloomberg show. On-peak hours are Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. till 11 p.m.

The power caution doesn’t require any action from the public, though the grid operator is asking for voluntary conservation from consumers, Ryan said.

Power plants fueled by oil and coal accounted for 18 percent of New England’s supplies as of 3:07 p.m., up from 13 percent a day ago and about 2 percent a week ago, the grid operator’s website showed.

These oil and coal plants typically ramp up on peak-demand days to ensure grid reliability as they are usually higher-cost fuel sources than natural gas. The share of gas-fired generation dropped to 48 percent from 54 percent a day ago, according to ISO New England.

Boston average spot prices traded at a premium to New York City for the first time in 10 days, reaching $6.97 a megawatt-hour versus a discount of $86.23 yesterday.

New York

New York City spot on-peak electricity rose $18.13, or 6.6 percent, to $293.99 a megawatt-hour from yesterday’s average, the most since Jan. 23, Bloomberg data show.

The New York Independent System Operator Inc. said power consumption across the state grid will peak at 34,600 megawatts to top the record of 33,939 megawatts set in August 2006, according to a statement.

Actual consumption may be less because the grid operator triggered conservation incentives that may curtail as much as 1,200 megawatts, said Ken Klapp, a spokesman in Rensselaer, New York.

PJM cut its peak-demand forecast for today to 156,779 megawatts during the hour ended at 3 p.m. from the previous projection of 158,989 megawatts for the hour ending at 4 p.m., according to the grid operator’s website. Yesterday’s peak was 158,418 megawatts at 4:30 p.m.

The spot on-peak average at its benchmark Western hub, which includes deliveries to Washington, fell $6.09, or 4.1 to $141.18 a megawatt-hour as of 4 p.m., grid data show.

Spot prices fell in California and Texas as the states saw more seasonal weather.

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