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Western Price Survey

June 16, 2017
Extreme Heat Ignites Power Values

An extreme temperature swing forecast across the West prompted an equally extreme reaction from power prices at the end of trading June 16.

Portions of Northern California should see near-record, triple-digit heat, with areas of Oregon climbing into the high 80s Monday. In Northern California, “the last day of triple digit highs” is anticipated June 20.

CAISO demand peaked at 36,012 MW June 15; however, the week’s high is expected to occur June 16, when use should reach 39,517 MW. In the week ahead, demand is forecast to reach 46,114 MW June 20.

The forecast sent daytime power prices soaring at week’s end, with much of the rise coming in Thursday-to-Friday trading. By June 16, daytime prices gained between $19.65 and as much as $38.35 in trading. California-Oregon Border gained the most, up $38.35 to $51.75/MWh by June 16.

In its only trade of the week, North of Path 15 peak power posted an average price of $53.60/MWh June 16. This was a $20.60 increase compared to its previous trade of $33/MWh, posted June 5.

Off-peak values jumped between $8.65 and as much as $18.60 between June 9 and June 16. Again, COB saw the greatest gains, moving from 40 cents/MWh to $19/MWh.

Meanwhile, working natural gas in storage was 2,709 Bcf as of June 9, according to U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates. This is a net increase of 78 Bcf compared to the previous week. Storage levels are now 10.6 percent less than a year ago and 9.2 percent greater than the five-year average.

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National natural gas consumption rose 3 percent compared to the previous report week, driven by gas use for power generation, which grew 11 percent week over week based on warm Eastern weather.

Henry Hub gas spot values dropped 2 cents to end at $2.92/MMBtu between June 8 and June 15.

Western natural gas prices varied. Alberta natural gas lost the most, down 15 cents to $1.79/MMBtu in trading, while Southern California Border gas gained 6 cents to reach $2.79/MMBtu. Opal natural gas remained even at $2.63/MMBtu.

How the heat will affect runoff in California is a question mark, according to the California Department of Water Resources.

The snow-water equivalent in the California snowpack is now 7.5 inches, which is 170 percent of the average for the date, according to DWR. The San Joaquin River basin, for example, is estimated, based on aerial surveys, to have roughly 1.24 million acre-feet of snow-water equivalent remaining. –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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