Most EIA regions show increase in natural gas prices

Nine of the 10 reporting regions monitored by the Energy Information Administration (EIA) showed an increase in spot natural gas prices according to figures posted March 26.

New England recorded the highest daily spot prices for both electricity and natural gas at $120.60/MWh and $15.00/mmBtu respectively.

New York City reported a spot gas price of $8.00/mmBtu while the lowest spot natural gas price in the nation was the $4.41/mmBtu recorded in Houston.

In Senate testimony March 25, EIA Administrator Adam Sieminski said prolonged winter weather across much of the nation had depleted natural gas storage inventories. The EIA chief, however, said storage levels should rebound in the next few months.

Days earlier EIA said in a monthly power generation update that electricity produced by oil surged during January in the Northeast due to the extreme cold.

It's now officially springtime and New England is the only region that posted triple-digit spot power prices on March 26. New York City and the Mid-Atlantic weren't that far behind, however, at $98.87/MWh and $88.23/MWh respectively.

One nuclear unit that had been offline in the Northeast is available once again. PPL said March 26 that its Susquehanna 2 nuclear unit has returned to service after being offline to repair a valve on a non-safety-related water supply pump.

No other region in the nation outside the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic posted a spot power price above $50/MWh.

A powerful storm will move up the Atlantic Coast through Wednesday, March 26. While the bulk of the precipitation will be offshore, the system is expected to bring snow, heavy at times, and gusty winds to parts of coastal New England through Wednesday. A blizzard warning is in effect for Cape Cod, Martha's Vineyard, Nantucket and parts of eastern Maine, according to the National Weather Service (NWS).

Temperatures will be 15 to 25 degrees below average from the Lower Great Lakes to the Mid-Atlantic, the NWS said. The national forecast also calls for direct moisture off the Pacific into the West Coast producing coastal rain and higher elevation snow from Central California to the Pacific Northwest through Thursday, March 27.

Author: Wayne Barber, Chief Analyst for the GenerationHub, has been covering power generation, energy and natural resources issues at national publications for more than 20 years. Prior to joining PennWell he was editor of Generation Markets Week at SNL Financial for nine years. He has also worked as a business journalist at both McGraw-Hill and Financial Times Energy. Wayne also worked as a newspaper reporter for several years. During his career has visited nuclear reactors and coal mines as well as coal and natural gas power plants.

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