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Western Price Survey

Week's End Edition
June 22, 2012
Power Prices Fluctuate

Peak prices in the Northwest have risen substantially since last week, while California prices have dropped.

Pacific Northwest hydro generation reached 14,916 MW on Thursday, June 21. Wind generation, however, tapered off after hitting 4,168 MW on June 18.

Here's how average peak prices at Western hubs fared in the June 15-22 trading period:

  • Mid-Columbia: Up $10.15 to $12.40/MWh.
  • California-Oregon Border: Up almost $8.95 to around $18.10/MWh..
  • South of Path 15: Lost almost $7.30 to $28/MWh..
  • North of Path 15: Dropped about $9.25 to roughly $29.15/MWh..
  • Palo Verde: Down about $4.65 to around $28.80/MWh.

Meanwhile, off-peak prices in the Pacific Northwest gained about $4 on average over the trading period, while SP15 and Palo Verde shed several dollars. Mid-C nighttime power is still trading at negative values (see table).

Working gas in storage reached 3,006 Bcf as of Friday, June 15, according to Energy Information Administration estimates, a net increase of 62 Bcf compared with the previous week. Storage levels are now 29.2 percent higher than a year ago and 27.1 percent above the five-year average.

Western spot natural gas prices were flat June 22 compared to last Friday. Henry Hub natural gas rose 6 cents over the stretch to $2.50/MMBtu. In the West, the only significant movement in gas prices occurred at the Southern California Border, which jumped 14 cents over the trading period to $2.69/MMBtu.

Peak demand on the Cal-ISO grid reached a 36,200 MW high Wednesday. Northwest Power Pool demand reached 52,030 MW Thursday.

Cal-ISO solar production continues breaking records. The grid operator reported 882 MW of peak solar production Thursday, June 21. Record-breaking generation should continue as new solar sources come on line in the state this year and next.

In California, Unit No. 1 of the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant is slowly returning to service after a refueling and maintenance outage, which began in late April. It was operating at 93 percent of capacity as of Friday, according to Nuclear Regulatory Commission reports. The plant's operating capacity has been fluctuating thus far this week, which is expected until testing is complete and full operations restored, according to operator Pacific Gas & Electric. Meanwhile, the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station remains off line for inspection of steam-generator tubes.

The 1,170 MW Columbia Generating Station continues operating at 85 percent of capacity to alleviate the possibility of Bonneville Power Administration needing to curtail wind through its Oversupply Management Protocol.

What's ahead: Arizona Public Service announced it anticipates peak demand of 7,067 MW this summer. The utility says it has 8,696 MW of available generation. The summer peak demand in 2011 reached 7,087 MW; the record system peak, recorded in 2006, remains 7,236 MW.

A high of 107 °F is expected in Phoenix June 27 and 28. Sunny skies are forecast for Los Angeles and San Francisco Monday through Thursday, while showers return to the Pacific Northwest [Linda Dailey Paulson].


Western Electricity Prices
Week's End: June 18 - 22, 2012
Hub Peak (heavy) Off-peak (light)
Alberta Pool (C$) 9.93-690.10 0-33.30
Mid-Columbia 0-22 (-)15-2.50
COB 9.50-24.50 0-7.25
NP 15* 27-33.25 18.75-19
SP 15* 28.25-33.65 16.90-21.50
Palo Verde 27.25-34 14.50-20.50

* Prices represent both day-ahead locational marginal prices (financial swaps, or EZ Gen DA LMPs) and quasi-swap prices (EZ Gen) as reported by ICE.

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


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Contact Chris Raphael, editor with questions regarding Price Survey Content.

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