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Thousands remain without power in Northeast; prices climb as another storm approaches

Tens of thousands of customers remain without power after a strong nor'easter hit the northeastern US March 2, and power prices climbed Tuesday across the region in response to another approaching storm.

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"In hardest hit Westchester [County], crews have restored power to 75,000 customers, as line workers bear down on completing the remaining 28,000," utility Con Edison said in a statement Tuesday. "Meanwhile, New York City's storm-related outages are now substantially restored, with 924 remaining out ... as of this morning," Con Ed said. Westchester is the county directly north of New York City.

Damaging winds, reported from western New York and New England to the North Carolina mountains, knocked out power to nearly 2 million, according to weather.com.

Con Ed expects to complete restoration to the "vast majority" of Westchester County customers by 11 pm EST Tuesday, although over 25,000 remained without service as of 4 pm EST, according to the utility's website.



PRICES RISE ON COLDER TEMPS, MORE SNOW


Power prices across the Northeast were on the rise Tuesday on lower forecast temperatures. Parts of the region are under a winter storm warning and winter storm watch for Wednesday and Thursday, with snow accumulations of up to 20 inches expected, according to the US National Weather Service.

"While crews expect to make substantial progress again today, the elements, after last week's hint of spring, are posing another challenge: more snow," Con Ed said Tuesday. In the ISO New England footprint, Mass Hub on-peak day-ahead jumped $4 into the mid-$30s/MWh for Wednesday delivery on the Intercontinental Exchange, as off-peak increased $2.50 to the upper $20s/MWh.

Boston high temperatures were forecast to fall into the upper 30s Wednesday, 7 degrees Fahrenheit below seasonal norms, according to CustomWeather.

The drop in temperatures pushed up heating demand as the ISO New England projected peakload to increase 4% day on day to around 17,000 MW Wednesday from 16,350 MW Tuesday. In the New York ISO territory, the Zone A West on-peak locational marginal price jumped $10.25 to around $28.25/MWh for Wednesday delivery, according to the ISO. Likewise, Zone G HVL on-peak rose $3 to around $34/MWh as Zone J NYC on-peak increased nearly $1.75 to about $38.75/MWh.

The ISO predicted peakload would rise 1.5% to around 19,750 MW Wednesday from 19,450 MW Tuesday, with high temperatures across New York state forecast in the low to mid-40s for Wednesday, within 6 degrees of seasonal norms, according to CustomWeather.

Northeast on-peak balance-of-the-week packages were up across the board as Mass Hub added nearly 25 cents in the mid-$30s/MWh on ICE, while NYISO Zone G on-peak bal-week was up 75 cents in the low $30s/MWh and Zone A rose $2.25 to the upper $20s/MWh.


PILGRIM NUCLEAR PLANT OFFLINE


After powering through the weekend storm, Entergy's 680-MW Pilgrim nuclear plant near Boston, Massachusetts, was taken offline Tuesday due to a likely water leak inside the feedwater heating system.

"Entergy Pilgrim Station made the decision to shut down and remove the unit from the grid this morning. The heater with the suspected leak, known as the 5th Point, is located inside the condenser bay and due to this location, the unit needed to be shut down to allow for a proper inspection and repair under the safest conditions possible," spokesman Patrick O'Brien said in a Tuesday email.

The anticipated return-to-service date "is considered business sensitive information" the company does not share, O'Brien said.

Power from the plant, which is located about 25 miles south of Boston, was replaced with natural gas and hydropower resources, according to ISO New England data.

More than 21,000 customers in Massachusetts remained without power Tuesday morning, according to local press reports.

--Jared Anderson, jared.anderson@spglobal.com
--Kassia Micek, kassia.micek@spglobal.com
--Edited by Rocco Canonica, newsdesk@spglobal.com