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Social Distancing in Mild Weather Drives Down Energy Prices in New England

ISO-New England screenshot

New England saw a big drop in energy prices and demand in March, as the coronavirus pandemic coincided with mild late-winter weather.

The region's grid operator, ISO-New England, says March had the lowest electricity prices since 2003, when the current market structure began.

The regional grid runs mostly on natural gas, and gas prices were 60 percent lower in March of this year than last.

That's partly because supply exceeded demand – mild temperatures drove down the need for home heating, freeing up gas for electricity supply, even as electricity demand dropped, too.

The ISO says they saw a particular drop of about 5 percent in mid-March, as social distancing measures took effect.

Overall, energy demand in March was 7 percent lower than at the same time last year.

Annie has covered the environment, energy, climate change and the Seacoast region for NHPR since 2017. She leads the newsroom's climate reporting project, By Degrees.
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