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Northeast power prices climb as storm-related restoration efforts advance

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Northeast power prices climb as storm-related restoration efforts advance

Highlights

Henri cuts service to about 233,000

Vast majority back online already

Hot temperatures in forecast

Wholesale power prices surged Aug. 23 in New York and New England as power demand is expected to bounce back from the demand-destruction effects of Tropical Storm Henri and climb sharply in response to high temperatures midweek.

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Traders on Aug. 20 had lowered price expectations for delivery Aug. 23 in response to the approach of what was expected to be a Hurricane Henri hitting Aug. 22 with power outages cutting demand through midweek.

Storm-related customer outages totals ranged around 233,000 over the weekend, which had been cut down to about 55,000 by noon ET Aug. 23.

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On New York's Long Island, day-ahead on-peak prices averaged around $300/MWh for delivery Aug. 24 on the Intercontinental Exchange, up from day-ahead on-peak LMPs settling around $91/MWh on Aug. 20 for delivery Aug. 23.

At ISO New England's Mass Hub, day-ahead on-peak power approached $70/MWh for delivery Aug. 24 on the Intercontinental Exchange, up from Northeast Massachusetts/Boston Hub LMPs settling around $60.50/MWh for delivery Aug. 23.

Boston and New York City temperatures on Aug. 23 were forecast to be 8 degrees above average at 86 and 91 degrees Fahrenheit, respectively, on Aug. 24.

Rhode Island hit hardest

National Grid's Rhode Island customers were hit the hardest, with more than 100,000 customers offline at some point due to the storm, but that state's customer total had dropped to about 37,000 by noon ET Aug. 23.

The utility had almost 4,000 people working to restore service to customers in Rhode Island and Massachusetts whose service was cut by downed limbs, trees and poles.

National Grid said it expected to have "the vast majority of customers restored by midweek."

Eversource utilities in Connecticut and Rhode Island were also hard hit, totaling more than 69,000 customers without service at some point during the storm, but those numbers had been cut to about 6,300 as of noon ET Aug. 23.

"Thousands of line and tree crews from as far away as Texas, Oklahoma, Florida and Canada and beyond are working nonstop to restore power to Eversource customers following intense rain and high winds form Tropical Storm Henri," Eversource said in a statement.

Craig Hallstrom, Eversource president of regional electric operations, said, "While the shift in Henri's track spared Connecticut from the devastation it could have caused, the storm delivered the expected heavy rains, further saturating grounds that were already soaked from the remnants of Tropical Storm Fred and other storms."

Edison Electric Institute said Aug. 23 that more than 13,500 workers from at least 31 states, the District of Columbia and Canada were helping in the restoration effort.

Cyclone Henri power outages and pricing
Power outages
State
Utility
Overall customer outages
Remaining*
Connecticut
Eversource
59,000
6,090
United Illuminating
**
111
Massachusetts
Eversource
10,110
226
National Grid
29,200
899
Unitil
150
-
New Jersey
First Energy
26,000
4,233
PSEG
**
1,884
New York
PSEG
3,258
198
Central Hudson Gas & Electric
**
3,191
Con Edison
**
1,306
Rhode Island
National Grid
104,000
37,201
Day-ahead on-peak prices***
Pricing point
For delivery Aug. 23
For delivery Aug. 24
ISO New England NE Mass/Mass Hub
60.49
69.50
NYISO Zone J Long Island
91.17
300.00
*As of noon ET Aug. 23. **Not available. ***Aug. 23 prices are day-ahead locational marginal prices; Aug. 24 prices are approximate trading prices on IntercontinentalExchange.
Sources: S&P Global Platts, the various relevant utilities, PowerOutage.us