The total amount of electricity that can be generated is almost perfectly inelastic in the short run. As any good economics student would predict, rising demand coupled with inelastic supply leads to a very rapid increase in price. The wholesale price of electricity this time of year is usually around US$40 per megawatt hour, but on Tuesday the wholesale price rose above US$900 per megawatt hour in some parts of the Northeast.
Certain utility companies have come under harsh criticism for not building the capacity necessary for hot days. Portions of Manhattan went without electricity for over 18 hours, causing city officials to consider legal action against Con Ed. Until Northern states start experiencing many hot days each summer, it's a good guess that utility companies will try and get by without building additional costly generating facilities, and instead try to rely on the wholesale electricity market to get them through hot summer days. By the same token, unless the South starts getting a lot more snow, Southern cities probably won't buy snow removal equipment and will, instead, shut down at the first snowflake.
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