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Western Price Survey

Week's End Edition
July 1, 2011
Peak Prices Rise on Hot Weather

Daytime spot prices in the West soared as traders looked to hot weather over the July 4 holiday in Portland and California.

In the Friday-to-Friday trading period, June 24 to July 1, here's how average peak power prices fared:

  • Mid-Columbia: Up about $8.90 to almost $37.90/MWh.
  • California-Oregon Border: Up about $15.20 to about $49.65/MWh.
  • NP15: Posted trades for only three days this week; ended trading Wednesday at $38.25/MWh.
  • SP15: Gained around $17.65, trading at almost $56.30/MWh.
  • Palo Verde: Earned almost $14.90, trading at roughly $56.30/MWh.

Because of the July 4 holiday, trades made Friday, July 1 were designated for July 5 delivery -- when Cal-ISO expected its highest peak demand of the year so far, 42,930 MW.

Average prices for off-peak power in the West generally lost about a dollar in Friday-to-Friday trading (see chart). Northwest off-peak power climbed out of negative territory and shot above $10/MWh at Mid-C in June 30 trading, but fell back to an average of -18 cents/MWh the next day.

The Bonneville Power Administration's periodic curtailment of non-hydro generation under its "environmental redispatch" initiative appears to be tailing off.

The agency cut no generation between June 28 and June 30, bringing its curtailment total to 86,062 MWh of generation since May 17.

Nationally, natural gas prices have been stagnant. Henry Hub spot fell to $4.40/MMBtu on June 29, a decline of 2 cents over the previous Wednesday. By July 1, the hub traded for an average of $4.33/MMBtu.

Natural gas traded at California hubs, however, rose in anticipation of a greater need for power to meet peak demand. Over the June 24 to July 1 trading period, Southern California Border gas earned 15 cents, closing at $4.40/MMBtu. Both Malin and PG&E CityGate gas gained 11 cents over the period, closing at $4.25/MMBtu and $4.60/MMBtu, respectively.

Working natural gas in storage rose to 2.432 Tcf by Friday, June 24, after a 78 Bcf net injection, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. This was only slightly higher than both the previous-year and five-year-average storage injections, according to the agency. Current stores are now 243 Bcf below last year's storage amount for this period.

What's ahead: Portland should have warm, dry weather Monday through Wednesday -- possibly the warmest weather of the summer to date, while cloud cover throughout the Seattle region Monday suppresses temperatures. Tuesday and Wednesday should prove warmer, with portions of interior Washington reaching the mid-to-upper 70s. A weak system enters the Pacific Northwest Thursday, bringing cooler weather. After reaching triple digits in some inland areas during the holiday weekend, temperatures throughout Northern California should gradually cool. Meanwhile, Southern California should be equally hot, with Salinas and some desert areas predicted to hit 108°F Monday. Temperatures around the Palo Verde area should reach 110 °F Wednesday [Linda Dailey Paulson].

Western Electricity Prices
Week's End: June 27 - July 1, 2011
Hub Peak (heavy) Off-peak (light)
Alberta Pool (C$) 12.10-999.23 10.34-48.62
Mid-Columbia 17.50-59 (-)6.50-13
COB 22.50-60 (-)0.50-18.50
NP 15* 35.25-38.25 9.75-34
SP 15* 36.25-57 12-38.50
Palo Verde 42.75-58.75 9-40.05

* 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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