When temperatures rise, so do electric rates

 

heat wave

Written by Powertwo staff

This summer. across the Northeast, from WashingtonDC to Boston people turned up their air condition to combat the sweltering temperatures. This is the most densely populated area of the country.  Power demand peaked one week in New England at 26,500 megawatts today, equivalent to the output of more than 26 large nuclear reactors.

In response to higher-than-normal power demands, system operators in New England fired up the region’s peaking power plants, which in many cases still run on costly fuel oil in this region. http://isoexpress.iso-ne.com/guest-hub. The price of electricity spiked as well, to as high as $230 a megawatt hour during the midday heat. This is 4 times electricity’s baseline rate of between $40-$50 per megawatt hours. But as Jesse Jenkins contributor to the energy collective, points out, because of flat tariff pricing the consumer will not be subject to rate increase based on these periodic dramatic price spikes.

Utilities do manage to push rate increases upon the consumer during the summer months. In Westchester County in New York State for instance, Con Ed bills reflected $.229 cents per kilowatt hour, making New Yorkers the highest rate payers in the country – after Hawaii.

One of the under appreciated advantages to solar is that solar panels have the greatest output during the summer months– usually about double their winter production. The result is that the average solar user is knocking down their electric bill precisely at those times when they would be paying the most inflated rates for electricity.

 

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