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New Jersey Nuclear Unit Outage Boosts Regional Power Prices

By: Harry Weber |

On-peak power in the mid-Atlantic states gained as a New Jersey nuclear unit was shut, while on-peak prices fell from Dallas to Houston as a Texas reactor restarted.

Congestion and higher consumption in Western New York boosted prices there for most of the day.

Demand on the 13-state PJM Interconnection LLC network, which stretches from Washington to Chicago, rose 5.9 percent to average 105,657 megawatts for the hour ended at 3 p.m. New York time from the same hour Thursday.

The high temperature Friday in Washington was forecast to reach 85 degrees Fahrenheit (29 Celsius), 12 above normal, according to AccuWeather Inc.

On-peak power at PJM’s benchmark Western hub, which includes Washington, was up 15 cents to $49.81, heading toward the highest full-day average since May 6, according to grid data compiled by Bloomberg.

Spot power at PJM’s Western hub fell $1.56 to average $43.97 a megawatt-hour at 3 p.m. after jumping to $113.98 the previous hour. Power at the Eastern hub, which includes New Jersey, advanced $5.83 to average $67.99.

Exelon Corp. shut its 550 megawatt Oyster Creek reactor, 33 miles (53 kilometers) north of Atlantic City, New Jersey, late Thursday, according to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

PJM West on-peak power traded $25.10 below the Eastern hub, compared with a discount of $9.70 on Thursday and a three-month average discount of $4.43.

Texas Power

In Texas, on-peak power at the North hub, which includes Dallas, fell $6.14 to $23.06 a megawatt-hour at 2 p.m. local time, heading toward the lowest full-day average since April 28.

Spot power at the North hub and Houston hub gained 29 cents to average $25.65 after falling to as low as $22 at 8 a.m.

The South Texas Project Unit 2 nuclear reactor restarted and was running at 7 percent of capacity early Friday, according to the commission. The unit, 80 miles southwest of Houston, with a nameplate capacity of 1,354 megawatts, was reported shut March 29 for scheduled refueling.

On-peak power in New York City traded at a $133.10 discount to Zone A, in Western New York, compared with a discount of $45.46 on Thursday and a three-month average premium of $12.08.

Prices in Western New York were higher because of a combination of congestion on the 230-kV system in Zone A, higher loads with warmer weather, transmission work going on this month in that zone and an outage at the Indian Point nuclear reactor, Kate Trischitta, director of trading and asset optimization at Consolidated Edison Inc.’s wholesale unit in Valhalla, New York, said in an e-mail. The nuclear unit has since returned to service.

Natural gas for June delivery gained 14.6 cents, or 5.3 percent, to $2.888 per million British thermal units on the New York Mercantile Exchange, the highest settlement since March 18. About 30 percent of U.S. electricity is generated using gas.