East Coast heat wave blasts power prices through the roof

New York's Times Square on Tuesday.
Getty Images
New York's Times Square on Tuesday.

Intense heat up and down the East Coast has air conditioners cranking and power generators pushing it to the limit. With electricity demand in places like New York flirting with all-time highs, power prices are reaching staggering levels.

"System demand in New York is expected to top out today at 99% of its all-time peak," according the EIA, which also reports power prices on New York's Long Island roughly 1,000 percent higher than normal, in some cases.

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"Day-ahead prices for certain peak hours reached above $150/MWh [megawatt hour] in New England, above $250/MWh in New York City and PJM West, and above $300/MWh in Long Island. Usual prices for these areas are $30-$60/MWh," the government agency said in an Energy Market Alert released Thursday.

When power demand peaks to these levels and generators push equipment toward maximum capacity, it strains the transmission system or power grid, greatly increasing the risk of a power failure.

In an effort to avoid that outcome, the New York Power Authority on Wednesday "activated a program to reduce electricity use at public-facility locations in New York City in response to anticipated higher energy demand due to the hot weather."

A recent NYPA Tweet:

NYPA power program helps as NYC power demand climbs toward 2-year highhttp://bloom.bg/17llvOe via @ BloomBergNews

—By Breaking Energy's Jared Anderson.