What is the Polar Vortex?

Winter is here and if you live in a deregulated state, you are starting to hear the buzzword “Polar Vortex”

Winter is here and if you live in a deregulated state, you are starting to hear the buzzword “Polar Vortex” again. There are two questions we get asked all the time regarding this.
1) What is the Polar Vortex?
The Polar Vortex is a large area of low pressure and cold air surrounding both of the Earth’s poles. It ALWAYS exists near the poles, but weakens in summer and strengthens in winter. The term “vortex” refers to the counter-clockwise flow of air that helps keep the colder air near the Poles. Many times during winter in the northern hemisphere, the Polar Vortex will expand, sending cold air southward with the jet stream (see graphic above). This occurs fairly regularly during wintertime and is often associated with large outbreaks of Arctic air in the United States. The one that occurred January 2014 is similar to many other cold outbreaks that have occurred in the past, including several notable colder outbreaks in 1977, 1982, 1985 and 1989.
2) How does the Polar Vortex affect my business?

When a Polar Vortex occurs, it creates record heating demand on the energy grid and can cause energy costs to spike all across the eastern half of the US. Cold weather can burden all types of power generation, including gas, coal, and nuclear power plants. Some generators experience extended run times, resulting in unplanned shutdowns.
The last Polar Vortex happened in 2014. During all of 2013, the average cost for the PJM grid to ensure reliable power delivery was $53/MWh; in January 2014, the average cost was $150/MWh. This caused energy prices to spike all across the east coast.

The good news is, we are coming off of historical lows back in March and now is a great time to see what your business qualifies for in your state’s energy choice program. Our team of energy consultants continuously monitor the energy markets allowing you to receive the most competitive electricity and natural gas pricing in your area.

If you have any questions on how NAEA can help with your energy costs, give us a call at: 1-888-407-3152

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