Lack of pipelines driving up electricity costs

HOLYOKE, Mass. (AP) — New England’s electric grid operator says a lack of pipelines is making natural gas costlier, pushing up wholesale electricity prices in the region by 55 percent last year.

ISO-New England said Tuesday that the average price of wholesale electric energy rose to $56.06 per megawatt hour, up from a historic low of $36.09 in 2012.

Natural gas is the predominant fuel used to generate the region’s electricity, amounting to about 46 percent of generation in 2013. Wholesale power prices tend to track the price of natural gas.

The price of natural gas has declined as production increases in the Marcellus shale field in New York and Pennsylvania. But ISO says limited pipeline capacity into New England has made it difficult for some natural-gas-fired generators to get fuel, pushing up prices.

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