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Western Price Survey

July 2, 2015
The Heat Is On

Western power prices spiked as an oppressive heat wave enveloped the region.

Daytime temperatures in some areas hit triple digits, even in inland areas of the Pacific Northwest. Medford, Ore., for example, reached 108 °F July 1, tying its record high.

California-Oregon Border peak power prices soared to $104.20/MWh June 30 before settling at $67.20/MWh July 2. Pacific Northwest peak power values gained roughly $11/MWh in June 26 to July 2 trading, while California hubs added as much as $6.75. Palo Verde prices, however, were relatively static in comparison.

There was little reprieve for off-peak power. Many nighttime temperatures soared to record highs between June 26 and 28, according to the National Weather Service. The cities of Vancouver, Portland and Salem had record high temperatures for three consecutive nights. Portland reached 70 °F June 28, breaking the 1948 record nighttime temperature of 64 °F.

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Average nighttime prices rose to meet demand, led by Mid-Columbia off-peak power, which added $8.20 to $37.85/MWh. Average off-peak prices July 2 ranged from $28.25 at Palo Verde to hit $37.85/MWh at both the California-Oregon Border and Mid-C.

Cal-ISO issued flex alerts June 30 and July 1. Peak demand on the Cal-ISO grid reached 41,914 MW June 30, which should prove the week's high.

Imported energy resources flagged, according to Cal-ISO data, with a peak of 7,454 MW June 29. Northwest hydropower exports to California fell, according to Cal-ISO; thermal generation mostly picked up the slack (see Power Gauge, next page).

Meanwhile, working gas in storage reached 2,577 Bcf as of June 26, according to U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates, a net increase of 69 Bcf from the previous week. Storage levels are now 34.6 percent greater than a year ago and 1.1 percent greater than the five-year average.

Henry Hub gas spot values gained 5 cents in Wednesday-to-Wednesday trading, ending at $2.82/MMBtu July 1. Western natural gas prices were generally higher, adding between a penny and 16 cents by the end of trading. Alberta proved the exception, losing 13 cents to $2.03/MMBtu. PG&E CityGate led gainers, jumping 16 cents to $3.29/MMBtu.

Western natural gas prices were significantly lower in June compared to last year. Average Western power prices got a boost from hot weather at the end of the month [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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