Western Price Survey
Week's End Edition
Power prices this week rose and fell in line with temperatures and demand forecasts. Rain and cooler weather pushed up prices $1 to $2 by Wednesday, though prices were clipped Thursday on the usual lower-demand scenario.
On Friday, prices moved past Wednesday's highs based on higher power loads and clear but cold skies forecast for California on Monday. Daytime power prices closed out the week $2 to $4 higher than where they started. Off-peak power gains were more dramatic, with increases between $5 and $9.
At the California-Oregon border, peak-power prices rose and fell throughout the week, but ended on Friday about $2 higher at $70.22/MWh. Off-peak power shot up from $55.01 to $64.75/MWh, the highest figure for nighttime power at the Western hubs.
The Mid-Columbia hub saw peak values climb steadily through Wednesday, dip less than $1 on Thursday to $63.47, and ascend back to $66.43/MWh. Off-peak trades had the same pattern, rising from $53.21 on Monday to finally end the week at $62.17/MWh.
North of Path 15 prime values teetered back and forth but closed up more than $2 at $73.60/MWh. Off-peak prices actually slid from Monday to a low of $55.88/MWh on Thursday, but turned around and rose $7.
At South of Path 15, daytime prices ended the week at $73.77/MWh, up from $71.52 on Monday. Night values fell nearly $2 by Thursday, and then gained $7 to close at $61.65/MWh.
In Arizona, Palo Verde peak power climbed through Wednesday to $63/MWh, then finished at $65.64. Night values were $48.98 on Thursday but skyrocketed to $56.55/MWh.
What's ahead: California bade farewell to the torrential downpours of last week for sun and warmer temperatures. San Francisco is finally back to normal, with patchy fog and temperatures in the high 50s to low 60s. In Los Angeles, it's mostly sunny with temperatures climbing from the high 60s today into the mid-70s by Sunday. Palm Springs and Phoenix will have similar weather, with temperatures in the high 60s to low 70s, respectively.
Portland and Seattle won't be nearly as lucky and will likely see rain through Saturday. The Northwest gets a one-day break before rain returns. Expect temperatures in the high 40s.
The San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station still has its Unit No.2, which can produce up to 1,070 MW, off line for routine maintenance and to replace spent fuel. It is expected to power up again sometime in the next week.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission opened a special investigation Tuesday into the failure of a backup generator for SONGS' Unit No. 3. The NRC is investigating why one of the two generators went down and whether workers responded quickly enough.
At Arizona's Palo Verde nuclear plant, its Unit No. 3, which can produce 1,311 MW, remains sidelined by regularly scheduled maintenance [Kristina Shevory].
Natural Gas Rises With Drawdown
With temperatures colder than at this time last year, it was no wonder that the heating fuel in storage sank 171 Bcf to 2.750 Tcf last week, the U.S. Energy Information Administration reported.
Nationwide, there is 9 percent less natural gas in storage now than in January 2007. In the West, the decline was less pronounced, with stockpiles dipping 20 Bcf to 375 Bcf. While there is almost 2 percent less natural gas in storage than last year, there is 7 percent more than the five-year average.
The bigger-than-expected drawdown in natural gas supplies teamed with short-covering boosted natural gas prices.
Prices closed out the week 30 to 40 cents higher than where they started, with average values ranging from $7.34/MMBtu at the Permian and San Juan hubs to $8.06/MMBtu at PG&E's CityGate center [K. S.].
Archives of the Western Price Survey for the past year are also available online.
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