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Western Price Survey

Week's End Edition
June 1, 2007
End of May Brings Nearly Static Nighttime Power Prices in West

Maybe it is the relative calm before an impending summer storm: Wholesale power prices across the West this week followed a familiar pattern of price dips for weekend deliveries followed by a small climb in Friday trading. While peak prices showed a bit of movement, off-peak prices were nearly at a standstill in many zones.

Daytime power averaged 70 to 75 mills/kWh at South of Path 15, save for a Thursday plummet to 58 mills/kWh. Nighttime power generally traded in the upper 40 mills range until Friday, when values reached an average of 52 mills/kWh.

North of Path 15 peak power jumped up 5 mills Tuesday and Wednesday, dropped 5 mills Thursday, and finished the week at around 72 mills/kWh. Nighttime power did not budge for the most part, staying tight at around 50 mills/kWh. There was a slight jump in Friday trading to 55.50 mills/kWh.

In Arizona, Phoenix-area temperatures remained hot this week and are forecast to reach 107 degrees by Tuesday. Meanwhile, the 1,243 MW Unit No. 1 of the Palo Verde nuclear plant remained off line for planned maintenance. On Tuesday, output at the 1,247 MW Unit No. 3 was reduced to 40 percent. Arizona Public Service said the move was made to fix a water leak in the non-nuclear side of the plant.

Daytime prices at Palo Verde ranged 12 mills/kWh throughout the week and reached as low as 63 mills/kWh on Thursday. As in the rest of the West, off-peak power did not move much at all and averaged in the mid-40s through Wednesday. By Friday, nighttime power averaged close to 50 mills/kWh when it reached its high price for the week.

At the California-Oregon Border, as temperatures heated up midweek, power prices stayed cool. Heavy power traded just on either side of the 70 mills/kWh mark in the first two trading days of the week, but by Thursday had dropped solidly into the 60s. Friday's normal upswing for Monday deliveries was not enough to regain the lost value. Off-peak power stayed close to the 50 mills/kWh mark, though it trended slightly upward all week.

At the Mid-Columbia hub, power traders responded to temperatures 15 to 20 degrees above normal Tuesday through Thursday with a yawn by slowly moving peak power prices down. Daytime power started trading for an average of 65 mills/kWh on Tuesday. By Friday prices averaged closer to 58 mills/kWh. Nighttime power at the hub stayed at just about 50 mills/kWh all week [Charles Redell].

Friday Trading Brings Volatility to Natural Gas Prices

For the third week in a row, the U.S. Energy Information Administration reported a storage injection across the nation. On Thursday, the EIA reported an overall injection last week of 107 Bcf -- 14 Bcf in the West. That is 3 Bcf less than a year ago in the West at this time, but more than 57 Bcf over the West's five-year average. The injection was also slightly more than analysts were expecting overall.

Natural gas values fared much better than last week, though Friday brought wider volatility.

At the Permian Basin in Texas, prices stayed just below $7.00/MMBtu for the most part. Friday trading saw a lot of movement in values, though. Prices ranged from $6.30/MMBtu to $6.93/MMBtu.

At the San Juan Basin in New Mexico, Friday's trading was also the story of the week. After a relatively static week that saw modest movement around the $7.00/MMBtu mark, Friday's prices tanked, dropping to about $6.25/MMBtu.

Values at the Southern California Border were much easier to watch. There, average prices stayed above $7.15/MMBtu until Friday, when the average dropped to $6.86/MMBtu.

Malin, Ore. prices were less temperamental by the end of the week compared to their Western neighbors. After moving solidly up from Tuesday to a high on Thursday of $7.19/MMBtu, price swings in Friday trading brought the week's low of $6.74/MMBtu.

On the other hand, Alberta Hub values went up over the week, moving from $6.43/MMBtu on Tuesday to $6.68/MMBtu on Wednesday. Values there were only off about 7c in Thursday trading [C. R.].

Western Electricity Prices
Week's End: May 28 - June 1, 2007
Hub Peak (heavy) Off-peak (light)
Alberta Pool (C$) 14.68-446.09 8.26-41.94
Mid-Columbia 53-68.25 45-53.50
COB 59.50-71.25 47-54.25
NP 15 63.25-78.25 47.25-55.50
SP 15 58-78.50 46.50-55
Palo Verde 61-73 42-50.50

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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