Large Price Increases Sock New England, Pacific Northwest

January 9, 2014 By William Opalka

2013pricesThe US Energy Information Administration reported that wholesale, on-peak electricity prices were up across the nation from 2012 to 2013, especially in New England and the Pacific Northwest. The price increases were driven largely by increases in spot natural gas prices.

Electricity in the Pacific Northwest is typically among the least expensive in the nation because of the regional concentration of hydroelectric generation. A dry spring contributed to prices not dropping to as low as 2012 levels.

Colder-than-normal temperatures in December led to short-term spikes in both the natural gas and power markets.

Cold weather taxed the strained natural gas pipeline system in New England, leading to day-ahead power prices in excess of $200 per MWh in January and February 2013. Cold weather in late November and early December led to a second spike in both the natural gas and power markets.

A cool August kept power prices low in Texas in 2013. Higher natural gas prices caused most of the other wholesale power markets in the country to have higher electricity prices in 2013.

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