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Western Price Survey

Week's End Edition
April 11, 2008
Electricity Prices Pendulum from High to Low, and Back Again

The end of the week brought with it significant increases in prices for wholesale power across the West. Although the weather forecast along the California coast remains rosy, oil prices reached record highs, peak demand on the grid was forecast to jump by more than 600 MW Friday, and capacity at one of San Onofre's nuclear stations decreased.

On Friday, it was reported that Southern California Edison plans to lower the capacity of its 1,100MW, second unit at the San Onofre Nuclear Generation Station to repair the feedwater speed control system. The unit will be cut to 65 percent operating capacity, for an unknown amount of time. The news came as peak grid demand was expected to break 30,500 MW early Friday afternoon, according to the California Independent System Operator.

Power prices started the week strong, then shed up to $15/MWh midweek as demand on the grid fell with temperate weather. The trend bucked rising natural gas prices, but wholesale power finally caught up on Friday.

The South of Path 15 hub saw peak prices soar nearly $11 during the week, reaching a high of $111.25/MWh on Friday. Low-demand power continued to fall on Thursday, hitting a low for the week of $68.25, but rebounded to a range of $85.50 and $96.50 on Friday, a gain of more than $10 for the week.

Daytime power in the North of Path 15 region traded between $93.75/MWh and $106 on Thursday, but climbed all the way to $109.50 on Friday. Power scheduled for nighttime delivery skyrocketed $16 from Wednesday to Thursday, and finished the week at a high of $96.

Palo Verde peak power made marginal gains on Thursday, but leapt by more than $15/MWh on Friday, trading for a high of $102.50. Off peak power made a similar jump, gaining nearly $15/MWH over the last two days of the week.

At the Mid-Columbia trading hub, prime values ticked up slightly on Thursday, but made significant gains to close the week at $105.25/MWh, about a dollar shy of the week's high set on Monday. Low-demand power, however, climaxed on Friday, reaching $100. Thursday's trading produced the week's low of $67.50.

The lowest peak price on the California/Oregon border was set on Thursday, but prices zoomed Friday to equal the week's high of $105/MWH on Monday. Nighttime power also hit its high mark today, trading between $85 and $97, nearly a $5 gain [Ted Pelonis].

Natural Gas Increases as Crude Prices Reach Record Highs

The price of natural gas spiked across the board on Thursday, a day after crude prices reached an all-time high of $112.21 per barrel.

Oil prices dipped Thursday and today. The record crude prices and increased natural gas prices came after the U.S. Energy Information Administration reported decreased inventories of both commodities.

The EIA Weekly Natural Gas Storage reported Thursday that 14 Bcf of natural gas was withdrawn from storage the week ending April 4, 2008. Approximately 12 Bcf was removed in the East and 2 Bcf in the West. While the withdrawal was small, total storage remains 22 percent below last year and 1.8 percent below the five-year average.

Weather forecasters called for warm weekend sunshine, and lower weekend demand likely pushed gas prices to make a small correction.

Southern California border gas experienced the greatest price increase, rising 69c from Monday to Thursday, before settling at an average of $9.47/MMBtu for weekend deliveries.

Malin gas jumped 62c the first four days of the week, trading between $9.62/MMBtu and $9.70 on Thursday, and averaging around $9.50 in Friday trading.

At the Permian hub, gas prices went up by 49c on Thursday to $9.46/MMBtu and then finished Friday between $9.07 and $9.33.

Gas at the San Juan Basin followed suit, peaking at $9.38/MMBtu on Thursday and closing just above $9/MMBtu for weekend deliveries [T. P.].

Western Electricity Prices
Week's End: April 7 - 11
Hub Peak (heavy) Off-peak (light)
Alberta Pool (C$) 64.93 - 999.97 28.04 - 248.57
Mid-Columbia 84.75 - 107 67.50 - 100
COB 89.50 - 105 72.25 - 97
NP 15 90 - 109.50 69.75 - 96
SP 15 89.75 - 111.25 68.25 - 96.50
Palo Verde 76 - 102.50 61 - 83.75

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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