Utilities surge as power auction foreshadows higher electric bills

|By:, SA News Editor

The utility sector is among the day's best performers after the annual capacity auction at PJM Interconnection, which runs the largest U.S. power grid, forecasts payments to electricity producers will jump to $120/MW-day vs. $59.37 in the previous 12-month period and expectations of $75-$100.

The higher capacity price is a boon to power producers, which rely on the payments as baseline revenues; the auction results are viewed as another endorsement of natural gas.

The outlook is particularly favorable for Exelon (EXC +3.9%) and FirstEnergy (FE +6%), according to S&P's Aneesh Prabhu; PPL Corp. (PPL +2.9%) also benefits, especially considering that the price in its region was expected to fall.

The price for Public Service Electric & Gas' (PEG -0.2%) utility territory in northern New Jersey was set at $215/MW-day, down from $219 a year earlier.

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