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Western Price Survey

Week's End Edition
June 29, 2012
Power Prices Up Ahead of Holiday

Western power prices gained several dollars ahead of the Fourth of July holiday.

In the June 22 to June 29 trading period, Northwest average peak prices picked up between $7 and almost $9/MWh. California hubs gained $4 to $5/MWh on average. California-Oregon Border posted the greatest gains, up about $8.90 to $27/MWh. Average daytime prices at the end of the trading period ranged from about $19.60/MWh at Mid-Columbia to roughly $36.05 at Palo Verde.

Meanwhile, average off-peak prices at Western hubs rose between 20 cents and $6.70/MWh on average during the trading period. COB led gainers, jumping $6.70/MWh to almost $13.05/MWh. Off-peak prices Friday ranged from about 10 cents/MWh at Mid-C to roughly $23.95/MWh at SP15.

Working gas in storage reached 3,063 Bcf as of Friday, June 22, according to Energy Information Administration estimates, a net increase of 57 Bcf from the previous week. Storage levels are now 27.1 percent higher than a year ago and 25 percent above the five-year average.

Western spot natural gas prices gained a bit by June 29 compared to the previous Friday. Henry Hub natural gas rose 24 cents to $2.74/MMBtu. In the West, Malin gas jumped 29 cents to $2.59/MMBtu and PG&E CityGate gained a dime over the trading period to finish at $2.94/MMBtu.

In the weeks ahead, analysts expect hot weather across the nation to increase natural gas-fired electricity demand as businesses and consumers turn up their air conditioning. There is concern, however, that natural gas will fill total available storage capacity by the fall, which could lead to a "massive sell-off" of natural gas futures, according to Enerfax.

Peak demand on the Cal-ISO grid reached a 35,726 MW high Thursday, June 28. Northwest Power Pool demand reached 52,527 MW the same day.

Cal-ISO solar production continues breaking records. The grid operator reported 910 MW of peak solar production June 27. Record-breaking generation should continue as new solar sources come on line in the state this year and next.

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

What's ahead: The Phoenix area should remain above the century mark in the week ahead, with thunderstorms possible through July 5. Los Angeles is forecast to have sunny days and cloudy evenings with temperatures in the 60s through Thursday, July 5. San Francisco expects mostly sunny skies Monday through Thursday, with temperatures around 70 degrees.

In the Pacific Northwest, Seattle may have rain Tuesday and Wednesday bracketed by sunny weather. Daytime temperatures in the area should reach the high 60s. The forecast for the greater Portland area calls for temperatures in the mid-70s under mostly sunny skies into Thursday [Linda Dailey Paulson].


Western Electricity Prices
Week's End: June 25 - 29, 2012
Hub Peak (heavy) Off-peak (light)
Alberta Pool (C$) 4.98-895.95 0-26.34
Mid-Columbia 0-26 (-)9-2
COB 8-29.50 1.75-16.50
NP 15* 27.25-32 17.50-17.50
SP 15* 30.25-34.50 17.15-24.25
Palo Verde 28.50-38 14.75-25.50

* 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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