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Western Price Survey

May 6, 2005
Power Prices Keep Even Keel

After dropping from highs set last week, power prices throughout California and nearby regions generally stayed steady this week, with most inching up no more than a fraction of a mill by Friday, although some off-peak power prices grew more than that.

At Mid-Columbia, peak power ranged between 47 mills and 49.50 mills/KWh on Wednesday and pretty much stayed there in late-week trading. Off-peak power, which was trading between 37.50 mills and 43 mills/KWh at midweek, dropped down to a high of 41.75 on Friday.

Daytime prices at the California-Oregon Border, which changed hands for between 50.25 mills and 52.25 mills/KWh on Wednesday, dipped slightly on Thursday before returning to their midweek range. Off-peak prices, however, took an upward trajectory, rising 1 mill on Friday from Wednesday's high price of 43.50 mills/KWh.

In Northern California, NP 15 peak power also went up, rising from a high of 53.75 mills/KWh on Wednesday to 55.50 mills/KWh in late-week trading. Off-peak power expanded even more, growing from a high of $40.75 mills/KWh midweek to 47 mills/KWh on Friday.

Peak and off-peak power South of Path 15 also went up in the latter part of the week. Peak power rose from a Wednesday range of 53.25 mills to 54 mills/KWh to a Friday range of 54.75 mills to 56.25 mills/KWh. Off-peak prices went from a high of 40.5 mills/KWh midweek to trade as high as 47 mills/KWh at the end of the week. Still, prices remained quite a bit lower than last week's peak power high price of 61 mills/KWh.

COB peak power prices stayed about the same from mid- to late-week trading, ending on Friday at a high of 52.50 mills/KWh. Off-peak power rose from a high of 43.50 mills/KWh on Wednesday to 44.50 mills/KWh at the end of the week.

Off-peak prices at Palo Verde saw the most action in the last few days. Peak power went from a range of 50 mills to 52 mills/KWh on Wednesday to a high of 52.50 mills/KWh in Friday trading, while off-peak power prices rose from a high of 37.50 mills/KWh midweek to 45 mills/KWh at the end of the week.

Major power plant outages were few and far between. Significant planned outages included the 775 MW Unit No. 2 Ormond Beach facility, the 605 MW Metcalf Energy Center, which was curtailed by 455 MW; and the 755 MW Pastoria power plant, which was curtailed by up to 635 MW. Alamitos Unit Nos. 2, 5 and 6, which have been out the past few weeks for planned maintenance--keeping more than 1,000 MW from the grid--were up and running this week.

To prepare for the peak summer demand season, the 1,080 MW Unit No. 3 at the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station was taken off line Thursday morning for a planned outage. The unit will be off line for two weeks.

Officials also announced Thursday that the 1,157 MW Columbia Generating Station, the Northwest's only nuclear facility, will be taken off line this Saturday morning for a refueling outage that will last 35 days. Approximately one-third of the 764 fuel assemblies in the reactor core have been depleted of useful fuel and will be replaced. The plant's high-pressure turbine rotor will be removed for inspection, three steam isolation valves will be overhauled, and 29 of 185 control-rod mechanisms will be replaced. The effort will involve some 1,250 temporary workers [Cassandra Sweet and Chris Raphael].

Western Electricity Prices
May 2 - 6, 2005
Hub Peak (heavy) Off-peak (light)
Alberta Pool (C$) 19.68-497.58 9.99-291.71
Mid-Columbia 43-50 30-43
COB 47.50-53 32.75-44.50
NP 15 51.25-55.50 33.50-47
SP 15 51.25-56.25 33.75-47.25
Palo Verde 48-53.50 31.25-45

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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