Lurking behind the shocking price for spot buyers last winter was an unpleasant realization for the gas industry: “As the gas price spiked, gas became uneconomical and was thus unavailable,” said Sherman Knight, president and chief commercial officer of Competitive Power Ventures. “The cold spike was picked up by coal and oil.”

An official from the regional wholesaler NYISO in attendance noted that dual-fuel capability—natural gas and fuel oil—is a requirement for generation in New York City and some surrounding suburban areas.

“We fell back on oil-fired generation, despite the reliance on gas for the base,” said Manan Ahuja, senior director of North American electric power for PIRA Energy, part of S&P Global. “ISO New England has become dependent on gas as a result of retiring coal-fired plants and building new gas-fired ones.”