Electric rates to spike in New England, despite nearby Marcellus gas
Residents in New England are looking at skyrocketing electricity prices this winter, largely due to an increased reliance on natural gas and pipeline constraints.
Utilities in the region are projecting rate hikes in the range of 30 to 50 percent, which will make the prices some of the highest in the United States.
From NPR news:
Between the years of 2000 and 2013, New England went from getting 15 percent of its energy from natural gas to 46 percent. That’s dozens of power plants getting built.
But the pipelines to supply those power plants? Not so much.
At the same time, with the fracking boom just a few hundred miles west driving down gas prices, more and more homeowners were switching to natural gas for heating.
So now when it gets cold and everyone turns on their heat, the pipelines connecting New England to the Marcellus Shale are maxed out.
Big pipelines planned for New England aren’t expected to come online until 2018, and the projects facing fierce local opposition. Transmission lines through Pennsylvania– designed to take the gas out of state– are also facing intense local scrutiny here.
New England currently gets about half its electricity from natural gas plants, which has exacerbated the bottleneck issue. Pennsylvania gets about 20 percent of its electricity from gas, but that’s expected to significantly increase in the near future as coal-fired power plants retire and new natural gas plants get built.