Blizzard warnings drive up Northeast gas, power prices

Spot electric power and natural gas prices surged for the Northeast as that region prepared for a major winter storm on Jan. 26.

The spot power price in New England jumped to $88.36/MWh, according to data posted by the Energy Information Administration. The New England spot power price was up 60 percent from the prior business day, according to GenerationHub.

In addition, New York City’s spot power price was up about 117 percent to $85.86/MWh. The Mid-Atlantic saw its spot power price increase 28 percent to $41.81/MWh.

New England posted the most expensive spot natural gas price at $10.50/mmBtu or 63 percent higher than the prior business day. The Mid-Atlantic listed the second highest spot natural gas price at $8.27/mmBtu, which was 196 percent more than the prior business day. The spot gas price for New York City was $8.00/mmBtu or 146 percent more than the previous business day.

The National Weather Service said the stage is set for a major nor’easter to affect parts of the Northeast through Wednesday Jan. 28. This system will be responsible for heavy snowfall and strong winds, with blizzard conditions possible along coastal areas from New Jersey to Massachusetts. Blizzard Warnings are in effect along the coast from central New Jersey to the Canadian border.

Some news reports are describing it as a potentially “historic” snowstorm in some major Northeast population centers.

Boston could see up to 30 inches of snow accumulate over a two-and-a-half day period, according to NWS. New York City could see almost as much snow over the same period, according to NWS forecasts.

Fortunately, Nuclear Regulatory Commission daily data shows all nuclear units are operating in the Northeast and the vast majority of the units are running at 100 percent generation. The Exelon Peach Bottom 2 nuclear unit in Pennsylvania is listed at 88 percent generation.

Regional grid operators have been working on extreme winter weather preparation plans since last year’s much-publicized “polar vortex.”

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Wayne Barber, Chief Analyst for the GenerationHub, has been covering power generation, energy and natural resources issues at national publications for more than 22 years. Prior to joining PennWell he was editor of Generation Markets Week at SNL Financial for nine years. He has also worked as a business journalist at both McGraw-Hill and Financial Times Energy. Wayne also worked as a newspaper reporter for several years. During his career has visited nuclear reactors and coal mines as well as coal and natural gas power plants.

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