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The Myth of the Polar Vortex: Winter Electricity Price Pressures and Responses (EGYN40T)

Presented by: Meredith Joan Angwin
(*) Single User Price. For multiple users please call 1-844-384-4744
Pre Recorded Webinar
60 minutes
Event Description

Electricity Price Rise: Causes and Remedies

Last winter the freezing weather of the polar vortex drove grid electricity prices to new heights in the Northeast. In subzero weather, natural gas was used for home heating: therefore gas-fired power plants could not obtain the fuel they needed. Utilities made up for the missing natural gas by burning oil and even jet fuel. Expensive fuels made expensive electricity. At the end of the winter, many utilities announced electricity price rises.

Though the Polar Vortex caused a major temporary price rise, the Polar Vortex was not the true cause. Even without a polar vortex, electricity costs will probably rise rapidly in the near future, in many areas of the country. Cost drivers include coal and nuclear plant closings, overreliance on gas-fired electricity, and a strong possibility of increased prices for natural gas from shale. This course will use the Northeast as an example, but also address how similar issues are arising in other parts of the country.

As the cost of electricity increases, electricity production and distribution companies will be faced with unhappy consumers and regulators. These companies will have to meet the challenge of explaining the price increases to their customers, regulators, and the press.  They will need to be effective at describing the overall situation with regard to electricity and natural gas supply. (Natural gas suppliers will face some of the same challenges). Many energy company employees have to work with regulatory bodies or members of the public. Each person in this position should know the concepts in this course. Hockey-stick price rises are probably in the near future. People, who face the public ranging from industry lobbyists to customer service representatives, need to be ready and able to explain this price rise.

Join Meredith Joan Angwin, in this riveting session to learn:

  • Electricity supply is constricting, due to coal and nuclear plants retirements and over-dependence on gas fired power plants
  • Gas-fired plants are subject to seasonal shortages and price spikes
  • Gas prices set the overall grid price. All generators who bid into the grid market get the "market-clearing" price. This is the highest price that the grid operator accepts for that time period. All bidders get this price, whatever they bid
  • Incentives for renewables may meet certain goals that society holds, but they tend to increase the price of power and do very little to alleviate supply crunches
  • Grid operators attempt to ensure reliability, but this often means encouraging the use of more expensive fuels, such as oil or jet fuel
  • Only partial cost protection is possible at end-user levels.  This will probably increase local outrage against the power plants, power companies, etc.
  • Learn three key points about the electricity supply that can be used to explain the de facto shortages and actual price rises. 
  • Learn three strategies that end-users can use to partially control their electric bills.

Benefits of the session

  • Learn how pricing works on the electricity grid
  • Discover the factors and decisions that determine electricity prices
  • Learn why many areas are probably at an inflection point in electricity prices, and can expect rapid price rises
  • Predict how prices are likely to move in the near future, in many parts of the country
  • Learn the strategies the grid operators are using to ensure reliability and partially control costs
  • Learn strategies that end-users can use to partially control costs

Who should attend

  • People in charge of negotiating electric contracts for a business, institution (such as a college) or municipal utilities
  • Customer service and public relations specialists at electric generation and distribution companies
  • Customer service and public relations specialists at gas utilities
  • Lobbyists and regulatory liaisons at electric generation and distribution companies, and at gas utilities
  • Legislative and congressional staff involved with energy and environment committees of various kinds
  • Members and staff at Public Utility Commissions, Public Service Boards, and other energy regulatory groups at the state level
  • Grid operators and their public relations professionals
  • Consumer protection not-for-profits, including AARP energy specialists
  • Environmental organizations
About Our Speaker(s)

Meredith Joan Angwin, Green Technology ExpertMeredith Joan Angwin
Meredith Joan Angwin has thirty years of experience covering almost every aspect of utility operations. She is inventor on two patents in pollution control methods for gas-fired power plants. She was a project manager at the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) in renewable (geothermal) energy. In that position, sh... More info

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    Event Title: The Myth of the Polar Vortex: Winter Electricity Price Pressures and Responses
    Presenter(s): Meredith Joan Angwin

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