Region’s power plant closings seen pinching supply

Public Service Company of New Hampshire's Merrimack Station is seen running Thursday Jan. 23, 2014 in Bow, N.H. Utility operators say tight natural gas supplies and a spike in prices tied to the harsh cold forced an unusual request to fire up costly, jet fuel-powered turbines to keep the regional power grid running. (AP Photo/Jim Cole)

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — New England’s electric grid operator is warning that shutdowns of old power plants in the region are reducing supply and driving up prices.

ISO-New England said Wednesday that a regional auction to buy power for 2017 and 2018 ended with a shortfall in megawatts for electricity for businesses and homes. A commitment of 33,700 megawatts is off from 33,855 megawatts of capacity required.

The cost of the market in 2017-2018 is about $3.05 billion, compared with about $1.06 billion in 2013.

ISO says major power plants to be retired by June 1, 2017, include Brayton Point and Salem Harbor in Massachusetts, Vermont Yankee and Norwalk Harbor in Connecticut.

It warns that the slim capacity margin and higher prices demonstrate more power generation and more conservation efforts are needed.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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