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Western Price Survey

February 20, 2015
Western Highs Offset East's Big Chill

While the East Coast braved record low temperatures, the West Coast basked in weather above seasonal norms with most areas posting record daytime highs, some in the 80s.

California cities including Stockton, Redding and Lancaster reached record highs through the Presidents Day weekend and into the week. The UCLA campus reached a record 85 °F Feb. 14. Portland and Seattle also posted records.

Those "moderate temperatures" in the West resulted in "lower-than-average storage withdrawals and natural gas prices that have remained comparatively stable," according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration weekly report.

Working gas in storage reached 2,157 Bcf as of Feb. 13, according to EIA estimates, a net decrease of 111 Bcf from the previous week. Storage levels are now 45.8 percent greater than a year ago and 2.8 percent greater than the five-year average.

During the report week, the West posted a net addition of 4 Bcf to natural gas storage.

The amount of natural gas in storage surpassed the five-year average for the first time since Nov. 22, 2013. This may, however, "only last a week," the EIA said.

Natural gas values rose in Thursday-to-Thursday trading, with Henry Hub gas spot values up 9 cents since Feb. 12 to trade Feb. 19 at $2.97/MMBtu. Western natural gas prices rose between 5 and 14 cents by the end of trading. El Paso-Permian natural gas gained the most, rising 14 cents to end at $2.64/MMBtu. Southern California Border gas broke the $3 mark after adding a nickel, ending at $3.03/MMBtu Feb. 19.

Likewise, average prices for Western peak power rose, gaining between 90 cents and $4.60 in the Feb. 13 to Feb. 20 trading period. Average daytime prices ranged from $24.10/MWh at Mid-Columbia to $33.95/MWh at South of Path 15.

Markets were closed Monday, Feb. 16, in observance of the Presidents Day holiday.

Average off-peak prices also moved higher during the abbreviated trading period, with hubs adding several dollars. California-Oregon Border posted the largest gain, up $6.50 to $16.45/MWh. Northwest hubs, which had spot prices as low as $1 during the week, jumped more than $9 between Thursday and Friday. Average off-peak prices Friday ranged from $12.20/MWh at Mid-C to $24.75/MWh at Palo Verde.

Peak demand on the Cal-ISO grid reached 29,302 MW Feb. 17, which should be the week's high. Northwest Power Pool demand reached the week's high of 54,353 MW Feb. 17 [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.

Please contact with questions or comments about this site.

Contact Chris Raphael, editor with questions regarding Price Survey Content.

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