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Western Price Survey

May 27, 2016
DWR Adjusts State Runoff Forecast

The California Department of Water Resources lowered its water-supply forecast this week thanks to less runoff than anticipated. May rains could not make up the difference.

"There have been extraordinary drops in the forecast compared to last week," the agency said in a news release on the revised forecast. "After four years of record drought, it appears that a significant portion of the potential runoff is being lost to infiltration and the dry soils."

The statewide snow-water equivalent was 3.5 inches, or 29 percent of the historical average as of May 25, according to DWR.

Working natural gas in storage was 2,825 Bcf as of May 20, according to U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates. This is a net increase of 71 Bcf compared to the previous week. Storage levels are now 36.5 percent greater than a year ago and 37.4 percent greater than the five-year average.

Western natural gas average values varied, with most hubs following the benchmark Henry Hub lower. All but three Western hubs saw values erode between 1 and 9 cents in the trading period. PG&E CityGate posted the greatest loss, down 9 cents to end at $1.74/MMBtu May 26. Sumas had the greatest addition, up 12 cents to $1.41.

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Daytime power prices perked up at week's end, adding between $4.20 and $6.40 in May 20 to May 27 trading. This is likely due to a combination of factors -- the holiday weekend, the approaching end of the month, and warmer weather expectations. Trades made May 27 were earmarked for May 31 delivery based on the Memorial Day weekend.

Some areas of the West may be much hotter in the week ahead. Sacramento and Redding should break the century mark May 31, while Portland may reach 93 °F by June 1.

Average nighttime power prices varied, with Mid-Columbia adding $5 to $15.50/MWh. Palo Verde values eroded 60 cents in trading to end at $13.25/MWh. Prices May 27 ranged from $13.25/MWh at Palo Verde to $18.15/MWh at South of Path 15.

Demand peaked on the CAISO grid at 29,232 MW May 26, but the week's high demand of 29,681 MW is anticipated May 27. Total renewables production on the CAISO grid reached 12,248 MW May 25. Total solar production reached 7,566 MW May 26. [Linda Dailey Paulson].

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

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