Bloomberg News

Warm Weather May Boost Electric Demand by Month's End

May 15, 2012

The central and eastern U.S. may warm up enough by the end of the month to boost energy demand as temperatures climb into the 80s Fahrenheit (upper-20s Celsius).

Temperatures across the East are forecast to be 5 to 7 degrees above normal, with the western Great Lakes and Chicago reaching 8 to 14 degrees higher than normal from May 25 to May 29, according to MDA EarthSat Weather in Gaithersburg, Maryland.

“This warm change is likely to bring a boost to cooling demand across parts of the Midwest and mid-Atlantic, where widespread 80s are likely for at least a few days,” MDA said in its 11- to 15-day outlook.

Natural gas futures advanced today on the New York Mercantile Exchange after the forecasts, which may boost demand for power-plant fuel for air conditioning.

Commodity Weather Group LLC President Matt Rogers was cautious in his forecast, saying in a note to clients that it only takes temperatures moving past the 70s to send averages above normal at this time of year. Those highs don’t match the heat that drives the big demands for electricity in July and August, Rogers said from his office in Bethesda, Maryland.

The New York Independent System Operator, which oversees much of the state’s electricity grid, had its highest demand of 33,939 megawatts on Aug. 2, 2006, according to the ISO’s website. The grid operator expects a peak of 33,295 megawatts this summer.

The increase in electricity may affect the natural gas market because consumption is expected to peak at 31.2 billion cubic feet a day in the third quarter, when air conditioning use is the highest, up from 27.7 billion a year earlier, according to the Energy Department.

The normal average temperature for May 16 in New York is 63, according to MDA. It’s 58 in Boston, 59 in Chicago, 67 in St. Louis, 70 in Atlanta, 74 in Dallas, 77 in Houston, 60 in Seattle and 72 in Burbank, California.

To contact the reporter on this story: Brian K. Sullivan in Boston at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Dan Stets at

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