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Western Price Survey / Archives

April 29, 2005
Prices Sink Upon Traders' Return

With moderate temperatures and few transmission difficulties or major outages this week, power prices took an expected dive.

Prices did not turn upwards much after Western energy traders took a recess Tuesday and Wednesday to attend a Schedulers' Conference in Reno, Nevada. On Monday, power traded for delivery Tuesday through Thursday. When trading resumed Thursday, energy prices went even lower, and even Friday trading did little to push prices back to Monday levels.

Mid-Columbia peak power traded between 48 mills and 54 mills/KWh on Monday, a significant drop from a range of 54.25 mills to 56 mills/KWh for the April 18 to April 20 period. Off-peak power at Mid-Columbia went for 40.50 mills to 44 mills/KWh. Power costs dropped again in Thursday trading, down to a week's low of 43.50 mills/KWh. The price for off-peak power also dove in late-week trading, dropping to between 34 mills and 36.50 mills/KWh.

The scenario was the same throughout the West. Both peak and off-peak power lost ground in Thursday trading for Friday and Saturday deliveries.

At the California-Oregon Border, for instance, peak power opened the week between 52 mills and 56 mills/KWh before slipping to the mid-forties on Thursday. Low-demand power prices at COB dropped by as much as 10 mills over the course of the week, hitting a low of 35.25 mills/KWh.

North of Path 15 peak power opened the week in the range of 55.50 mills to 60.50 mills/KWh. SP15 peak power traded for about one mill more. Off-peak power in California switched hands for between 41.25 mills and 44.25 mills/KWh on Monday but dropped down to around 37 mills/KWh for weekend deliveries.

Palo Verde peak power also complied with the week's pattern, opening at a high of 56.25 mills/KWh on Monday before sloughing off a few mills later in the week. Nighttime deliveries at the Southwest hub ranged from a high of 38.25 mills/KWh on Monday to a low of 33 mills/KWh on Thursday.

Throughout the West, power costs managed to edge upward on Friday, as they typically do for power scheduled for delivery next Monday. Though staying below the levels recorded this past Monday, both peak and off-peak power values gained between 3 and 5 mills in the interval between Thursday and Friday trading periods [Chris Raphael].

EIA Revises Revisions Rules

The Energy Information Administration this week announced that it was changing its policy for posting revised numbers for the Working Natural Gas Storage Report, which is released every Thursday.

Under the new policy, unscheduled revisions will be released on a federal workday between 2:00 and 2:10 pm Eastern Standard Time. Unscheduled revisions will only be issued when the change concerns at least 10 Bcf of natural gas on a regional or national level.

The catalyst for the change was the pre-Thanksgiving reporting error in 2004 that drove month-ahead prices up by as much as $1.00/MMBtu.

Natural gas prices dove in a few spots this week, tilting below the $6.00/MMBtu mark. Permian Basin gas went for between $5.83 and $6.67/MMBtu and San Juan Basin gas dropped to between $5.75 and $6.46/MMBtu.

At the Southern California border, prices grew a bit more volatile, spreading out to a range of $6.13 to $6.77/MMBtu.

The EIA reported that more natural gas continues to move into storage tanks. An additional 73 Bcf of gas made it to storage in the lower 48 states last week for a total of 1,416 Bcf [C. R.].

Western Electricity Prices
April 25 - 29, 2005
Hub Peak (heavy) Off-peak (light)
Alberta Pool (C$) 8.97-154.44 8.92-78.78
Mid-Columbia 43.50-54 34-44
COB 45.75-56 35.25-43.75
NP 15 49.50-60.50 36.25-45
SP 15 49.50-61 36.25-44.25
Palo Verde 46.50-56.25 33-39.75

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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