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New York Wholesale Power Climbs to 4-Week High on Shut Plants

New York City wholesale electricity prices rose to a one-month high as warmer weather boosted power use amid the shutdown of two generators in the region.

Spot on-peak prices for the city’s five boroughs rose for the third time in four days as higher-than-normal temperatures lifted demand above forecasts. The Bayonne Energy Center in New Jersey and Astoria East plants in Queens were shut because of work on an electric transmission line and a natural gas pipeline, according to Genscape Inc.

New York City Zone J electricity increased $1.28, or 2 percent, to $65.89 a megawatt-hour at 1:12 p.m. from yesterday’s on-peak average, the most since March 22, according to data from the New York Independent System Operator Inc., or New York ISO. On-peak prices extend from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.

“Zone J has seen extended periods of elevated pricing this week due to ongoing generation outages in New York City,” said Brendyn Brooks-Stocking, a Boston-based Northeast power analyst at Genscape, which tracks real-time data at power plants and transmission lines. “With the relatively new and efficient Bayonne and Astoria East Energy plants offline, the ISO has been forced to procure more expensive generation instead.”

The Bayonne plant is offline because of maintenance on the Transco gas pipeline, while Astoria generation has been curtailed by transmission work in the city, he said. Both conditions are expected to continue until the last week of April, according to Brooks-Stocking.
Plant Capacities

The capacity at NRG Energy Inc. (NRG)’s Astoria facility is 510 megawatts, according to the company’s website. The 512-megawatt Bayonne center, co-owned by Hess Corp. (HES) and ArcLight Capital Partners LLC, began operation last year and produces enough power for 500,000 homes in the New York City area, Hess said on its website. Both are fueled by natural gas.

The Astoria plant is available to provide power to the grid “except for some minor local transmission work involving ConEd’s equipment,” David Gaier, a spokesman for NRG based in Princeton, New Jersey, said in an e-mail. Consolidated Edison Inc. operates the utility that provides electricity to 3.3 million customers in New York City and Westchester County.

A spokesman for Hess didn’t immediately respond to an e- mail seeking comment.

The high temperature in New York City was 70 degrees Fahrenheit at 12:49 p.m., 7 higher than the usual reading, according to AccuWeather Inc. in State College, Pennsylvania. Yesterday’s high was 59 degrees, 3 below normal.
Peak Use

Electricity use across the city will reach 6,531 megawatts, 2.2 percent above yesterday’s peak of 6,392 megawatts at 5:35 p.m., data from the state grid operator show.

Above-normal temperatures in the Northeast and mid-Atlantic states today will be replaced by a cold front tonight, according to WSI Corp. in Andover, Massachusetts.

PJM’s benchmark Western hub, which includes prices from Erie, Pennsylvania, to Washington, slid $5.59, or 12 percent, to $39.82 a megawatt-hour at 12:15 p.m. from yesterday’s on-peak average, the least since April 5, data from the grid operator compiled by Bloomberg show.

Power from Connecticut to Maine declined $5.14, or 11 percent, to $43.09 a megawatt-hour, according to ISO New England Inc., which manages the region’s grid.

By Naureen S. Malik – Apr 19, 2013 2:20 PM ET

To contact the reporter on this story: Naureen S. Malik in New York at [email protected]
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Dan Stets at [email protected]

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