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Western Price Survey

April 8, 2016
Edison Concerned About Power Outages This Summer

Despite Cal-ISO's expectations that adequate resources exist to meet summer demand, Southern California Edison said it is "deeply concerned" about outages triggered by natural gas curtailments related to the Aliso Canyon gas-storage facility.

There are 14 possible days with outages this summer and up to 32 total days in 2016, according to Edison. Colin Cushnie, Edison's vice president of energy procurement and management, says the utility is asking customers to conserve "when needed" and is considering contracting outside of the region to meet projected summer demand.

Cal-ISO's March 25 preliminary assessments did not specifically factor in any grid-reliability issues related to Aliso Canyon. The statewide median operating reserve margin is expected to be 24.4 percent. The final 2016 Summer Loads and Resources Assessment is due for publication in early May.

Working natural gas in storage was 2,480 Bcf as of April 1, according to U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates. This is a net increase of 12 Bcf compared to the previous week. Storage levels are now 68.5 percent greater than a year ago and 54.4 percent greater than the five-year average.

The amount of working natural gas in storage as of March 31, the traditional end of the heating season, reached a record high of 2,478 Bcf. The previous all-time record high of 2,473 Bcf was reached in 2012. For much of the winter heating season, the EIA noted, weekly withdrawals were typically less than the five-year average.

Henry Hub gas spot values ticked up a penny in Thursday-to-Thursday trading, ending at $1.94/MMBtu April 7.

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Western natural gas average values varied, with the majority of hubs' prices eroding between 1 and 3 cents in trading. Sumas natural gas was a notable exception, losing 15 cents over the trading week to hit $1.29/MMBtu Thursday.

Average Western peak power prices varied in April 1 to April 8 trading, though values remain low, with California hubs fluttering around $20/MWh and Mid-Columbia around $15/MWh (see chart).

Nighttime power values also varied. Mid-C posted the greatest gains, adding $1.55 to reach $10.65/MWh. Prices April 8 ranged from $10.65/MWh at Mid-C to $18.50/MWh at North of Path 15.

Total renewables production on the Cal-ISO grid reached 10,972 MW April 4. Total solar production reached 7,441 MW on April 3 [Linda Dailey Paulson].

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

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