December’s average price of electricity rose on colder temperatures, higher demand, and higher natural gas prices
The average price of natural gas more than tripled during December 2016 and that, combined with higher demand for power, caused the wholesale power price in New England to rise more than twice as high as the price in December 2015.
The price of natural gas rose 226% in December, driving a 152% increase in the wholesale electricity price, to $53.83 per megawatt-hour (MWh)* from the December 2015 average price of $21.35/MWh.
December’s cold temperatures pushed up demand for power. As measured by heating degree days**, December 2016 was much colder than December 2015, and much closer to the normal level of heating degree days during a New England December. Cold weather also drives up demand for natural gas for heating, resulting in natural gas pipeline constraints that cause natural gas prices to rise.