A recent study published by the West Virginia University Bureau of Business and Economic Research finds drastic differences in the direction of power prices in the Mountain State versus the rest of the PJM Grid. The PJM grid consists of the mid-Atlantic energy market, with West Virginia in the center.
According to the report, “Over the past 10 years, West Virginia’s residential prices have risen, while PJM’s average price has come down considerably.” The study also found that since 2016, prices paid by manufacturers and other industrials have been more expensive in West Virginia than PJM as a whole.
“While the rest of PJM has a competitive marketplace that has driven down costs, West Virginia’s numbers are going the opposite direction,” said Rebecca McPhail, president of the West Virginia Manufacturers Association. “West Virginia is a highly regulated market in which a few utilities are producing most of their own electricity and passing along the higher costs to ratepayers.”
First formed in 1927 to serve electricity customers in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, PJM Interconnection is a Regional Transmission Organization (RTO) that helps provide affordable and reliable power across 13 states, including West Virginia. This includes a day-ahead wholesale power market and a real-time market to balance electricity load during peak demand.
“We must be able to compete with other states in the PJM who are taking full advantage lower power prices,” said McPhail.
The study cites that across PJM, the grid had fewer forced outages than the rest of the country.
PJM’s role is to ensure that the power grid remains strong in the face of weather events and other potential disruptions for 65 million people. PJM’s capacity market is designed to encourage long-term investments in the region’s power grid, requiring power producers to have enough capacity available to meet peak load plus an additional amount held in reserve.
“PJM’s generation mix has led to lower emissions, which helps manufacturers throughout our region regarding attainment issues,” said McPhail. “All of this proves that we can have better prices and not sacrifice reliability.”