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Western Price Survey

Week's End Edition
April 8, 2011
Western Energy Prices Mixed

Despite a midweek tumble that had some hubs posting negative spot prices, Western power prices ended the week mixed. Natural gas prices fell during the Friday-to-Friday trading period, April 1 to April 8.

Day-ahead prices for off-peak power in the West dropped by midweek, with average values at Northwest hubs dipping below $1/MWh Wednesday. Spot values for nighttime power at Mid-Columbia fell to a low of -$6.75, while the California-Oregon Border hub recorded a low spot price of -$4.

By Friday, off-peak power values throughout Western hubs gained compared to midweek, but were still off compared to last Friday.

Off-peak prices at Mid-C closed April 8 at $9.05/MWh, still off about $3.70 compared to the previous Friday, while COB nighttime power traded for about $10.45/MWh, down about $3.55 compared to April 1.

North of Path 15 reported only three days' trading for daytime power this week. No trades were reported the prior Friday, but the hub closed at about $32.60/MWh Friday, April 8.

In the Friday-to-Friday trading period, here's how other average peak power prices fared:

  • SP15: Down about 90 cents to around $34.90/MWh
  • Mid-C: Up about $2.70 to roughly $30.70/MW
  • COB: Down about $1.70 to $30.55/MWh
  • Palo Verde: Off about a dollar, ending at $35.45/MWh

Hydro generation in the Bonneville Power Administration area remains steady; however, peak generation remained less than 14,000 MW during the week. Inflows reported at Bonneville Dam have exceeded 300,000 cfs since April 1, hitting a high of 398,500 cfs April 5. Demand reported by BPA was consistently below 8,000 MW during the week, with a couple of upticks Thursday and Friday.

Peak demand on the Cal-ISO grid reached 28,934 MW Monday, April 4.

Domestic spot natural gas prices were nominally lower this week. Although the U.S. Energy Information Administration reported the year's first storage injection the week prior, stores were tapped this week due to cooler weather across the continent, primarily in the eastern U.S.. By April 6, working stores dropped to 1.579 Tcf after a 45 Bcf withdrawal, according to the agency.

Western natural gas values trended lower during the week. By Friday, April 8, PG&E CityGate gas was down 13 cents to close at $4.25/MMBtu. Southern California Border gas lost 11 cents over the previous Friday, closing at $4.10/MMBtu, and Malin gas lost a dime, ending at $4.02/MMBtu.

What's ahead: The Pacific Northwest should have temperatures in the 50s during the week ahead. Seattle meteorologists expect rain with possible dry stretches. San Francisco temperatures remain in the 60s Monday through Thursday with a slight chance of rain Monday, while Southern California should see lower temperatures through Wednesday [Linda Dailey Paulson].

Western Electricity Prices
Week's End: April 4 - 8, 2011
Hub Peak (heavy) Off-peak (light)
Alberta Pool (C$) 19.12-189.24 11.28-42.03
Mid-Columbia 15-39 -6.75-11.50
COB 23.50-37.75 -4-11
NP 15* 27-33 5-7.50
SP 15* 31.75-38.25 8.75-19
Palo Verde 26-40.50 10-23.50

* Prices represent both day-ahead locational marginal prices (financial swaps, or EZ Gen DA LMPs) and quasi-swap prices (EZ Gen) as reported by ICE.

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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