As Winter Storm Bears Down, Power Prices Surge to Highest in Nearly 4 Years

January 4, 2018, 5:53 PM UTC

With the winter storm barreling up the Atlantic coast, power demand is rising throughout the morning — a rare occurrence that’s causing some of the highest prices in almost four years.

Spot power on PJM Interconnection LLC’s benchmark western hub surged 126 percent to $273.23 a megawatt-hour between 9 and 10 a.m. local time. That’s the highest average for that period since March 2014, according to Genscape Inc. data compiled by Bloomberg. Across the PJM grid during that hour, the load exceeded 126,700 megawatts, higher than earlier in the day — and only to be topped the following hour.

“On a typical winter day, it’s coldest in the morning and evening, and you’ll have a morning peak and an evening peak in power demand,” said Patrick Finn, a Genscape analyst for the PJM region. “Today, specifically in the Mid-Atlantic, just with all the cloud cover and snow and precipitation, it makes demand hang up a little bit.”