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Western Price Survey / Archives

April 16, 2004
Prices Stand Still, Then Show Some Life at End of Week

With Western power traders at a meeting in Las Vegas Tuesday through Thursday this week, deals were completed on Monday for delivery in the following three days. The spreads at Western hubs remained within a very narrow band, and deliveries at most locations ran a few mills higher than last week at this time. No unseasonable weather loomed on the horizon to buffet prices, and so far no significant generator outages have been recorded this week.

San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station Unit No. 2, which had dropped off line over the past weekend and was recorded by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission at 1 percent on Monday, ramped back up to full power by early Wednesday. Diablo Canyon No. 1 and Palo Verde No. 1 continue on scheduled refueling outages, but the generation did not seem to be missed.

Peak load in the Cal-ISO territory hovered below 30,000 MW for the week.

Because trading at the first of the week was conducted for deliveries from Tuesday-through-Thursday period, there was no inter-day volatility to report. Once traders returned to their desks, however, prices managed to jump around a bit--especially the figures for off-peak power.

Mid-Columbia peak power traded for between 40.25 mills and 43.75 mills/KWh in the first half of the week, with off-peak power moving within the narrow range of 35 mills and 36.50 mills/KWh. Reports put the price for peak deliveries on Friday at between 41 mills and 43.25 mills/KWh. The price rose a few mills in Friday trading for next week's packages. Off-peak power for Monday delivery rose to a high of 40.75 mills/KWh.

California-Oregon Border prices and those recorded at NP15 were nearly identical much of the week. COB peak power moved for between 45 mills and 45.50 mills/KWh, while NP15 power traded for between 45.50 mills and 46.50 mills/KWh. Off-peak power prices at COB ran a bit higher than the Northern California hub's--35 mills to 36.50 mills/KWh compared with 33.25 mills to 35.25 mills/KWh at NP15. By the end of the week, the prices at the hubs diverged a bit more, with NP15 closing out at a high of 48 mills/KWh for peak deliveries and 42 mills/KWh for off-peak deliveries. COB peak power hit a high for the week of 46 mills/KWh on Friday and off-peak packages topped out at 40.75 mills/KWh, also the week's high.

As is usually the case, SP15 power changed hands for a few mills more than power at NP15. The southern hub price topped out at 51 mills/KWh, while low-demand power kept within a range of 34 mills and 35.50 mills/KWh. SP15 power settled out the week about where it started for daytime deliveries. On Monday the hub price for peak power ran between 48.75 mills and 51 mills/KWh. Friday packages were dealt out for between 48.75 mills and 50.25 mills/KWh.

Palo Verde hub power ran a few mills behind SP15 costs. Deals at the southwestern hub were settled for between 46.50 mills and 47.45 mills/KWh for peak-time deliveries and between 30.50 mills and 32.50 mills/KWh for off-peak power. PV peak power ran about one mill higher in Friday trading, but off-peak power took off, changing hands for up to 38.75 mills/KWh.

Transmission constraints in the Western region were not severe in the early part of this week and played little role in price movement. The Western Electricity Coordinating Council reported Path 15 as limited to 3,450 MW south to north and 1,850 MW north to south because of resource limitations in the area. The outage of the Gates-Arco 230 KV line drove Path 26 to a maximum capacity of 1,100 MW south to north, and resource limitations kept the north-to-south path at a rating of 2,500 MW [Shauna O'Donnell].

Gas Continues Strong, Shows Some Signs of Slipping

Natural gas prices managed to stay above the $5.00/MMBtu mark nearly the entire week. By Friday there were signs of weakening, but not much; only the San Juan and Alberta hubs dipped below $5.00, and by only pennies. San Juan gas opened the week at between $5.25 and $5.32/MMBtu before hitting a low of $4.97/MMBtu on Friday. AECO gas hit $4.94/MMBtu on Friday.

Gas delivered to California border receipt points carried the typical transportation premium. At Malin, natural gas was trading for a high of $5.465/MMBtu on Tuesday before sinking to a range of $5.15 to $5.20/MMBtu on Friday. Southern California border gas surpassed the Malin price by about twenty cents throughout the week.

The Energy Information Administration issued a natural-gas storage report showing an injection of 15 Bcf into underground storage for the week ending April 9. The West received 3 Bcf of that total but still lagged last year's total in storage at this time by 2 Bcf [S O'D.].

Western Electricity Prices
Week of Week of April 12 - 16, 2004
Hub Peak (heavy) Off-peak (light)
Alberta Pool (C$) 10.06-213.03 9.78-37.76
APX California 44.75-44.75 33.50-38
Mid-Columbia 40.25-43.75 35-36.50
COB 43-46 33.50-40.75
NP 15 44.50-48.25 33.25-38.75
SP 15 46.75-51 34-42
Palo Verde 44-48.25 30.50-38.75

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.

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Contact Shauna O'Donnell, editor with questions regarding Price Survey Content.

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