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Western Price Survey

July 3, 2014
Western Power Prices Up, Gas Down

Western power prices rose while natural gas prices fizzled in a trading week marked by the month's end and a holiday.

Peak prices gained momentum in the abbreviated trading period, with average prices moving between roughly $1.90 and $6.60/MWh in Friday-to-Thursday trading.

Markets will be closed Friday for the July 4 holiday. July 3 trades were earmarked for July 7 delivery.

Among Western hubs, Palo Verde led gainers, adding almost $6.60 during the week. By July 3, prices ranged from $39.90/MWh at Mid-Columbia to $60.20/MWh at South of Path 15.

Off-peak power prices in the West also gained value by week's end. Northwestern hubs gained about $20, led by Mid-C, which ended at $27.65/MWh Thursday. Average off-peak prices July 3 ranged from $27.65/MWh at Mid-C to $44/MWh at SP15 (see chart).

Working gas in storage reached 1,929 Bcf as of June 27, according to U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates, a net increase of 100 Bcf from the previous week. Storage levels are now 25.7 percent less than a year ago and 29.1 percent less than the five-year average.

Natural gas prices tumbled with Henry Hub spot values falling 15 cents since last Thursday, trading July 2 at $4.40/MMBtu. Western prices dropped between 5 and 21 cents over that period, with El Paso-Permian gas marking the highest decline.

Natural gas prices as a whole were higher in June compared with June 2013, though they are keeping pace with five-year average prices. For power, average prices in June were tighter than last June's ranges (see "Price Trends," next page).

Renewable-energy production on the Cal-ISO grid surpassed 10,400 MW on June 27. Solar production reached nearly 4,650 MW June 28, while thermal generation peaked at 19,400 MW June 30.

Wind production in the Bonneville Power Administration area remains strong, peaking at 4,080 MW June 27. Hydropower production neared 12,800 MW July 2 (see "Power Gauge," next page).

Peak demand on the Cal-ISO grid reached 40,324 MW June 30, which should be the week's high. Northwest Power Pool demand was 59,867 MW July 1; however, use is expected to reach 60,751 MW July 3.

What's ahead: Temperatures in Sacramento should near 100 °F July 7, while Fresno is forecast to reach 106 °F. By contrast, daytime highs the week of July 7 in the San Francisco area should be in the 70s [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.

Please contact with questions or comments about this site.

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

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