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Western Price Survey / Archives

January 16, 2004
Western Packages Parsed Uneventfully

Prices at Western hubs opened the week pretty much where they left off at the end of last week. After the frigid weather and escalating prices of last week at this time, trading this week was fairly stable. In the Northwest, California-Oregon Border prices opened on Monday in the 45.75 mills to 46.75 mills/KWh range for peak power. Off-peak power was attracting a high of 36.50 mills/KWh on that day. By Tuesday, trade prices inched upward a bit on slightly cooler weather and increased outages at Western generating facilities. That did not last long, however.

End-of-week trading at COB was recorded at a high of just 44.50 mills/KWh, though off-peak deliveries found a bit of strength, closing the week at about 41 mills/KWh.

Palo Verde peak-load power ticked up by a few mills in the first two days of the week, opening on Monday at between 42.50 mills and 45 mills/KWh and topping out at 46 mills/KWh on Tuesday. By Thursday, PV peak power reaching a high of just 42 mills/KWh. Off-peak power at the hub remained a bit firmer, opening the week between 25.75 mills and 30 mills/KWh and closing on Thursday between 34.50 mills and 38 mills/KWh.

In California, NP15 power was moving for between 46.50 mills and 50 mills/KWh for peak deliveries during the early part of the week. Low-demand power at that hub traded for a low of 31 mills/KWh on Monday before scooting up to a high of 41 mills/KWh on Tuesday. Further south, prices kept to a similar pattern. By the end of the week, little movement was exhibited in prices and NP15 came in at a range of 44.75 mills to 47 mills/KWh.

Peak loads numbers stuck close to the 30,000 MW in Cal-ISO territory this week, as seasonal weather eased into the region.

A number of larger generating units in the Cal-ISO control area began the week off line, including Reliant's 724 MW Ormond Beach No. 1 unit and the 775 MW No. 2 unit at the the same facility. Both of these curtailments were for scheduled reasons. Also on a planned outage during the first three days of the week was AES' 486 MW Redondo Unit No. 8. On Wednesday morning both the 807 MW High Desert facility and the 790 MW Mohave No. 1 unit were forced off line, bringing the total amount of power unavailable to Cal-ISO up to 11,235 MW at that time.

Come Friday, High Desert was back on line but Diablo Canyon No. 1 was down to 50 percent output for maintenance on the non- nuclear side of he unit. It is expected to ramp back up to full power Sunday. Moss Landing Unit No. 7, which had been on a scheduled outage for the last two weeks, showed up Thursday on the California Independent System Operator's list of units on forced outage. Out of a total capacity of 755 MW, just more than half of that was off line [Shauna O'Donnell].

The West is Best--Or at Least Cheaper

Be thankful for the little things. While East Coast consumers are suffering through a severe blast of Arctic cold and huge increases in natural gas prices. In contrast, Western gas prices looked positively like the bargain-basement variety.

For example, packages for delivery on Friday were moving for between $16.50 and $33.00/MMBtu at the Algonquin CityGates hub, compared with a spread of $5.90 and $6.13/MMBtu at the PG&E CityGate hub. Gas at the New York Transco-Z6 hub hit $60.00/MMbtu for that day.

The cold was not expected to let up for a few days and the pressure on gas prices was expected to continue until temperatures rise. Seasonal and slightly-above seasonal weather moved into the West this week, a welcomed contrast to last week's severe storms in the Northwest. The weather contributed little in the way of forcing any price movement, and trading at Western hubs sticking to a relatively narrow band between $5.05 and $5.80/MMBtu. The cost of gas did not dip below the $5.00/MMBtu mark at any of the Western hubs this week and, in contrast to last week, also did not exceed the $6.00 mark.

Deliveries at Topock sat much of the week in the vicinity of $5.50/MMBtu while Permian gas exhibited slightly more volatility. Permian Basin trades ranged from a low of $5.10/MMBtu on Tuesday to a high of $5.60/MMBtu on Thursday. Malin gas opened the week at between $5.40 and $5.55/MMBtu before inching up to the $5.73/MMBtu mark for close-of-week deals [S O'D.].

Western Electricity Prices
Week of January 12-16, 2004
Hub Peak (heavy) Off-peak (light)
Alberta Pool (C$) 10.60-175.96 10.60-61.88
Mid-Columbia 41-45.50 36-41.50
COB 43.25-47.50 36.25-41.25
NP 15 44.50-50 31-43.75
SP 15 44.50-50 29.75-42.75
Palo Verde 40.50-46 25.75-38

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

The Western Price Survey is excerpted from Energy NewsData's comprehensive regional news services. See for yourself how NewsData reporters put events in an accurate and meaningful context -- request a sample of either or both California Energy Markets and Clearing Up.

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Contact Shauna O'Donnell, editor with questions regarding Price Survey Content.

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