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Western Price Survey

May 29, 2015
Power-Sector Natural Gas Use Sags

Natural gas consumption across the United States was down this week, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Total consumption dropped 4.3 percent versus the prior week. The power sector saw the greatest drop, with consumption falling 9.2 percent week over week, according to the agency.

Working gas in storage reached 2,101 Bcf as of May 22, according to EIA estimates, a net increase of 112 Bcf from the previous week. Storage levels are now 54 percent greater than a year ago and 0.8 percent less than the five-year average. The addition was more than the 99 Bcf traders had expected, noted the agency.

Henry Hub gas spot values fell 15 cents in Thursday-to-Thursday trading, ending at $2.78/MMBtu May 28. Western natural gas prices dropped between 17 and 26 cents. Southern California Border and Alberta natural gas posted the greatest losses, down 26 cents in trading, ending at $2.58 and $2.04/MMBtu, respectively.

EIA expects gas prices to rise somewhat as demand picks up throughout the summer, but still remain relatively low.

Western power prices moved little in the abbreviated trading week. Markets closed May 25 in observance of Memorial Day.

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Palo Verde peak power values gained $2 to $25.90/MWh in the May 22 to May 29 trading period, while Northwestern prices fell roughly $1.60. Average daytime prices ranged from $21.50 at Mid-Columbia to $34.40/MWh at North of Path 15.

Average nighttime prices moved less than a dollar in trading. Mid-Columbia added 70 cents to hit $19.70/MWh. Average nighttime prices May 29 ranged from $19.70 at Mid-C to $20.75 at the California-Oregon Border. Neither North nor South of Path 15 posted trades May 29.

Peak demand on the Cal-ISO grid reached 30,007 MW May 28, but the week's high of 30,512 MW was forecast for May 29. Northwest Power Pool demand reached 51,052 MW May 28, but the week's high of 52,783 MW was expected to occur May 29.

Cal-ISO reported total renewables reached 9,920 MW May 22, while solar power reached 6,033 MW May 25.

In its final report of the season, the California Department of Water Resources noted the state-wide peak snowpack for the water year amounted to 5.6 inches of snow-water content. That peak was reached back in mid-February, DWR said, which is a couple of months before the end of the typical water year in the state [Linda Dailey Paulson].

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 Chris Raphael, editor with questions regarding Price Survey content.

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