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Western Price Survey

July 13, 2018
Heat Leads to Western Power Outages

Southern California and Arizona utilities battled power outages starting July 6 due to heat and wind.

No problems occurred with the California Independent System Operator grid, according to CAISO. It helped that the heat wave was not statewide and that it did not occur within a single day’s time, said CAISO spokesman Steven Greenlee. Overnight low temperatures in the 60s helped too, he said.

CAISO power demand reached an instantaneous peak of 45,352 MW July 6.

Los Angeles Department of Water & Power power demand peaked July 6 at 6,256 MW, a new utility record for a July day. By July 7, outages affected more than 46,000 customers. Service was completely restored by July 10.

Cumulatively, a total of 130,000 Southern California Edison customers lost power at some point between July 6 and July 8.

Heat-related transformer failures caused 3,473 San Diego Gas & Electric customers to lose power during the heat storm, and nearly 3,000 customers experienced fire-related outages. All power has been restored, according to SDG&E.

High winds and storms knocked out power to about 70,000 Arizona Public Service customers July 8 and 9.

High winds damaged 234 power and transmission poles in a two-day period. During the entire 2017 monsoon season—which typically runs from June 15 to Sept. 30—a total of 207 poles were damaged, according to Annie DeGraw, a spokeswoman for APS.

Western peak power prices generally gained between almost $7 and as much as $25.40 in July 5 to July 12 trading. South of Path 15 prices added $25.40 to reach $56.40/MWh. Palo Verde peak power eroded $5.05 to $48/MWh.

Off-peak power prices in the West rose between $5.20 and $8.60, save for Palo Verde, which fell $1.25 to $28.25/MWh.

Working natural gas in storage was 2,203 Bcf as of July 6, according to U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates. This is a net increase of 51 Bcf versus the previous week.

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Natural gas storage levels are now 24.8 percent less than a year ago and 19.1 percent less than the five-year average.

Henry Hub natural gas spot prices lost 3 cents in trading, ending at $2.84/MMBtu.

Western natural gas prices were generally lower after trading. Southern California CityGate values fell $3.37 to end at $4.91/MMBtu, while Southern California Border gained 27 cents to $3.69/MMBtu.

What’s ahead: CAISO and APS continue monitoring weather, as monsoon conditions are expected across the region. To the north, Redding is forecast to reach 110 degrees July 16, while dry, hotter-than-normal daytime highs are projected to persist in Portland and Seattle through at least July 18.
–Linda Dailey Paulson .

Archives of the Western Price Survey for the past year are also available online.


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Contact Mavis Scanlon, editor with questions regarding Price Survey content.

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