March 13, 2019

Wholesale energy prices on the rise

HBJ File Photo
HBJ File Photo

Rising wholesale prices for energy sold in New England rose to a five-year high in 2018, regional grid operator ISO New England said.

Prices increased for both electricity and natural gas, with both rising by double-digit percentages. The two are closely linked, as the six-state region relies heavily on natural gas-fired power plants.

Wholesale prices have largely been on the decline over the past decade, thanks to cheap shale gas and higher-efficiency power plants. Low gas prices have created economic challenges for nuclear plants, like Millstone Power Station, and other competing generators.

ISO NE said gas prices rose by 30.1 percent in 2018, to $4.84 per one million British Thermal Units. That's the highest since 2014, when prices averaged $8.04.

That increase, coupled with higher consumer demand and an "extreme cold spell" in Jan. 2018, led to a corresponding hike in electricity prices, ISO NE said.

Electricity prices rose 28.3 percent last year, to $43.54 per megawatt hour, also the highest since 2014, when prices were $63.32.

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