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Northeast Energy Markets: Windfall or Washout?

Fortnightly Magazine - January 1 2000

construction, 1,352 MW is under development and 19,656 MW is proposed. Energyinsight, RDI, in an Aug. 16 article indicated that developers intended to propose 9,100 MW in New York with nearly 5,000 MW designated for sites around New York City. Energyinsight on Aug. 23 indicated that 25,385 MW of planned merchant plant capacity is likely to be online in NPCC by 2003.

5 Approved projects such as Millenium from Ontario into New York, CNG into Empire and Tenneco Link to an LNG facility, could add more than 800 MMcf per day of capacity by 2002. Approval of the 682-MMcf per day Transco Market Link stalled in a lawsuit brought by Gov. Whitman in New Jersey. Planned, proposed and announced projects such as Duke Energy's Crossbay, Iroquois from Quebec into New York (East Chester), Tennessee's Eastern Express into Connecticut, Iroquois expansion into Vermont and Algonquin's Hub Link could add an additional 1.4 Bcf per day. Pipeline Tracking Database, Natural Gas Division, EIA, USDOE.

6 For the commercial and industrial (C&I) sectors, the natural gas share of the combined oil (which includes distillate and residual fuel oil) and gas consumption is much higher than for the residential sector. The C&I gas shares exceed 75 percent and 80 percent, respectively, while the residential share is near 50 percent. The gas share far exceeds the oil share for all states except Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont for the C&I sectors.

7 The average sales per residential customer in New York and Massachusetts is 8,123 kWh and 6,626 kWh, respectively, while for the average U.S. customer it is 10,371 kWh, "Energy Sales and Revenue," 1998, EIA. Electricity consumption in the Northeast has only increased at an annual rate of 1 percent during the 1990s. EIA projections for the summer of 2000 report a capacity margin (capacity relative to expected sales) of 17.2 percent for NPCC, the second-highest among the 10 NERC regions. These statistics represent the sum of each utility's capacity relative to expected sales and do not appear to account for such changes in business practice as the increasing amount of sales of power to customers supported by power transactions between utilities, which can, in turn, be supported by the more intensive use of existing capacity. "Electric Power Annual 1997, Volume II," October 1998, p. 69, EIA.

8 Between 1990 and 1998, the population loss from New York (excluding immigration from outside the United States) was 195,000. This number was more than twice as large as the next largest out-migration state, California, which has 80 percent more people. Interestingly, New York and California generally had the highest end-use energy prices in the Eastern and Western United States, respectively. All other things being equal, high energy prices necessarily will drive companies, and hence workers, out of the state. For examples of the relatively high natural gas and power prices in these states, see John H. Herbert, "The ABCs of Trading BTUs," Energy Intelligence Group, New York, N.Y., May 1998.

9 According to EIA's "Residential Energy Consumption Survey," penetration and saturation for New England in 1997 was 35.8