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Western Price Survey

February 10, 2017
Western Prices Damp as Rain Persists

Western energy prices moved little during the week, with both natural gas and power values relatively stagnant.

The Henry Hub gas spot price remained even between Feb. 2 and Feb. 9, ending at $3.10/MMBtu.

Western natural gas prices varied little in the trading period. Alberta natural gas posted the greatest gain, adding 5 cents to reach $1.99/MMBtu. Sumas natural gas posted the greatest loss, down 9 cents to $2.79/MMBtu.

Western peak power prices were also relatively static over the Feb. 3 through Feb. 10 trading period. Palo Verde daytime power prices added $2.15, ending at $24/MWh, while the remaining Western hubs’ values eroded less than a dollar. Prices finished the week from $23.50/MWh at Mid-Columbia to around $31/MWh at South of Path 15.

Off-peak prices saw similar patterns, with Palo Verde nighttime values gaining roughly $2.05 to end at $23.35/MWh, while SP15 dropped around $3 to $24.50/MWh.

Demand peaked on the CAISO grid at 30,357 MW on Feb. 6, which should be the week’s high. Northwest Power Pool demand reached 63,612 MW Feb. 8.

Working natural gas in storage was 2,559 Bcf as of Feb. 3, according to U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates. This is a net decrease of 152 Bcf compared to the previous week.

Storage levels are now 11.3 percent less than a year ago and 1.8 percent greater than the five-year average.

Natural gas demand across the United States decreased 5 percent week over week, according to the EIA. Natural gas used for power generation decreased 2 percent versus the previous week.

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In California, the statewide snowpack has a 36-inch snow-water equivalent, which is 180 percent of the Feb. 10 average, according to the California Department of Water Resources.

Los Angeles is at 177 percent of its normal precipitation since Oct. 1 and San Francisco is at 144 percent of normal, according to the agency, while South Lake Tahoe is at 290 percent.

What’s next: Forecasters expect “quieter weather” across the Western U.S., with dry conditions in some areas for several days. Santa Ana winds are expected to continue until Feb. 13 across Southern California, with rain expected late on the 16th or by the 17th. The San Francisco area should see more heavy rain and high winds starting around Feb. 16 and lasting several days [Linda Dailey Paulson].

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 Chris Raphael, editor with questions regarding Price Survey content.

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