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Western Price Survey

Week's End Edition
June 25, 2010
Western Electricity Prices Surge

Western power prices continued recovering this week from a recent hydroelectric-generation glut in the Northwest that prompted sharp declines.

Mid-Columbia average daytime prices had the greatest upturn, gaining more than $18.50 for the week ending June 25.

Nighttime pricing for the hub also improved. Off-peak power ended the week at an average of $6.35/MWh, up from 30 cents/MWh the previous Friday, June 18. A low price of -$1.50/MWh for nighttime power was recorded June 22. The previous low mark was -$5.50/MWh, recorded June 11.

California-Oregon Border off-peak power traded for an average of $13.94/MWh at week's end, more than double the $6.08 price of June 18.

Columbia Generating Station, the Hanford, Wash. nuclear facility owned by Energy Northwest, continues operating at 85 percent as remnants of record rainfall continue to move through the region's tributaries.

For peak power, Mid-C posted an average price of $31.20/MWh Friday, up significantly from $12.64 posted June 18. COB prices also experienced a similar upswing.

Daytime prices at North of Path 15 traded Friday for an average of $39.81/MWh, up about $3/MWh since June 18. South of Path 15 prices were similar (see table).

Among Western hubs, Palo Verde posted the highest spot price for peak power this week, $44/MWh.

Peak demand on the Cal-ISO grid reached a high of 33,958 MW June 23 at 4 p.m. On Monday, June 28, demand is expected to be around 36,600 MW.

At peak production, California renewables provided about 12.4 percent of system power on the Cal-ISO grid over a 24-hour period Thursday, June 24. Of that, 1,827 MW came from wind and 1,057 MW from geothermal sources. Small hydro, solar, and biomass each contributed about 400 MW.

Meanwhile, the Bonneville Power Administration reported wind production of around 2,500 MW on June 21, which was peak wind output over a six-day period ending June 25.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, an 81 Bcf addition to natural gas reserves provided a total of 2.624 Tcf in storage as of June 18. Inventories, though, have fallen below last year's for the first time since April, according to the agency, though they still remain 13.3 percent above the five-year average.

Henry Hub spot prices traded at $4.90/MMBtu on June 23, down 4.5 percent from the preceding Wednesday, according to the EIA. Spot prices traded at an average of $4.83 on Friday, June 25.

Meanwhile, gas futures for the hub traded at $4.80/MMBtu on June 23, which was 17 cents less than the previous Wednesday price.

What's ahead: Meteorologists are predicting unsettled weather with intermittent rain showers for Seattle June 27, continuing through June 30. Portland should have a sunny week with highs mostly in the 70s. Northern California has been experiencing rain and should be cloudy and cool through July 1. Meanwhile, cool, breezy weather is expected along the Southern California coast. Highs nearing the 100-degree mark June 27 are predicted for the Antelope Valley. Cooler temperatures are forecast for the region the first days of July [Linda Dailey Paulson].

Western Electricity Prices
Week's End: June 21 - 25, 2010
Hub Peak (heavy) Off-peak (light)
Alberta Pool (C$) 11.87-252.75 10.94-38.19
Mid-Columbia 14.50-32.75 -1.50-8.50
COB 24.50-38 5.25-15
NP 15* 32.50-40.80 13.75-28
SP 15* 32-40 13-27.50
Palo Verde 35.60-44 16-36

* 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.


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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