Frozen New England Utilities Scrape Oil Barrel Bottom for Fuel

New England power plants are scrambling to secure the dirtiest fuel that comes out of a barrel of oil.

Oil is now feeding about 30 percent of New England plants’ power generation. But as the season’s worst winter storm threatens to drop up to a foot of snow on the region, some oil-burning plants are running short on supplies, according to Marcia Blomberg, a spokeswoman for ISO New England Inc., the region’s grid operator.

Fuel oil imports to the U.S. East Coast rose nearly 60 percent last week to 171,000 barrels a day, according to U.S. Customs data compiled by Bloomberg. The icy temperatures are set to boost Atlantic Coast heating oil demand, too, increasing distillate use by 90,000 barrels a day in January and February, according to JBC Energy.

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