In today’s AUSenergy News Update: Wholesale electricity prices in New England jump 55% on higher natural gas prices, ComEd has redesigned their residential utility bill, and 3 nuclear power plants in Illinois may close.
Summary: The average price of a megawatt hour in New England increased from $36.09 to $56.06 in 2012 due to a lack of capacity in the natural gas pipelines that feed the region. Almost half of New England’s electricity was generated using natural gas in power plants in 2013 when average prices for the fuel jumped 76% to $6.97 per million BTUs.
AUS Comment: The limited pipeline capacity coming into New England makes it difficult for natural-gas fired generators to receive fuel, pushing up prices and threatening the reliability of the power grid. All six state governors in the region (Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont) are proposing the construction of new natural gas transmission equipment and public works to feed the region and meet electricity demand. Some of the costs of new construction are likely to be covered by fees on electric bills.
Summary: Beginning last May, ComEd began seeking feedback from customers on possible residential bill designs as part of a larger effort to improve customer service and satisfaction. ComEd is confident that their newly redesigned bill will ultimately make it easier for customers to read, understand and manage their monthly charges.
AUS Comment: AUS is impressed by the design improvements. We feel ComEd was successful in its goals of enhancing the clarity of the bill, making it easier to understand. We encourage ComEd residential customers to take a look for themselves.
Summary: Exelon warns Illinois state lawmakers that 3 of the 6 nuclear power plants in Illinois may shut down because they are not profitable.
AUS Comment: Beyond imposing higher consumer charges for the nuclear plants, there is little more the state can do to help Exelon.
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