For the fifth week in a row, energy prices inched upward. For this seven-day report period, the average 12-month price for natural gas on the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX) rose 1.6%. The 12-month average price for peak power on the PJM rose less than 1%.
Since March 1, 2013, natural gas prices increased by 11% and peak power prices on the PJM increased by 6%. Most analysts blamed cold weather for the March price rally. Preliminary data indicates that March was approximately 24% colder than normal in this region. This cold snap affected most areas east of the Mississippi and kept upward pressure on energy prices during the entire month.
However, this week's price increase was the smallest spike we've seen during the past four weeks. Hopefully, the price rally is coming to an end with the start of spring. With any luck, we will soon begin to experience some moderate spring days that do not require much heating or cooling.
Although natural gas and electric prices are trading higher than one year ago, energy prices are still near the second lowest level in 10 years.