January 28, 2014

Winter electricity prices up 126%

Submitted photo
Submitted photo
Grid administrator ISO New England has seen wholesale electricity prices rise due to natural gas supply constraints

The average wholesale price of electricity in New England rose 126 percent in December compared to December 2012, driven by demand for light and natural gas, according to grid administrator ISO New England.

The wholesale price of electricity in December was $98.52 per megawatt hour, up from $43.64 per megawatt hour in December 2012.

The cold spell in mid-December lead to heavy consumer demand for power, and the demand for natural gas rose for home heating, cutting off the supply for natural gas power plants. As a result, ISO had to call on the more expensive coal and oil power plants to meet demand.

The wholesale electricity price is not the price paid on business or consumer bills, as those are set ahead of time and usually remain unchanged for an established period of time. However, wholesale electricity prices do influence the rates charged on ratepayer bills, as they are factored into supplier costs.

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