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Western Price Survey / Archives

July 7, 2000
Power Markets Breathe Easier

Except for an uptick on the California Power Exchange for Friday deliveries, Western power prices fell steadily this week. While the prices eventually recorded for bilateral trades more closely resembled normal values for this time of year, the usual Monday prescheduling psychology was evident. Forward prices touted by brokers for early next week are over 100 mills/KWh at several hubs-just in case hot weather returns and generation becomes scarce again.

California was generally cooler this past week and loads throughout the West were deemed moderate, helping to calm down what had been an overheated marketplace last week. The Independence Day holiday on Tuesday also represented a big change in the market, with last Monday's energy deals still priced up to 200 mills/KWh but much lower after the break. As a result, there seemed a wide range of prices this week.

While it started out at nearly 90 mills/KWh on Monday, the CalPX day- ahead peak price fell to half that midweek before rallying to 59 mills/KWh for Friday preschedules.

In doing so, the PX price crossed paths with deals at Mid-Columbia and California/Oregon Border, which fell to the 40 mills to 50 mills/KWh range on Thursday. The return to service of the Columbia Generating Station and a cooling rainfall in the Northwest allowed for surplus power from the Bonneville Power Administration throughout the week. BPA even returned to offering 200 MW of peak and off-peak power at CalPX indexed prices into early next week.

Overnight power prices varied from 29 mills to 36 mills/KWh in California in the latter part of the week. COB and Mid-C prices were down to the 33 mills to 35 mills/KWh range late in the week.

Down in the desert, Palo Verde transactions were light and prices dropped to about 51 mills to 60 mills/KWh for peak power. At Four Corners, the price was slipping below 60 mills peak and 29 mills/KWh off-peak.

There really was not much news to report. The few reported generation outages at Grand Coulee, San Juan and Laramie River stations were non- factors in pricing. The Columbia Generating Station was on its way back to full power on Friday morning and all seemed well along transmission paths but for some minor maintenance limits.

The Alberta Power Pool continues to show severe price volatility, with certain hours hitting 500 mills/KWh on relatively moderate loads [Arthur O'Donnell].

Gas Prices Dive on Futures Collapse

Natural gas prices plunged lower in response to the cooling of electricity demand. Both the NYMEX futures market and daily spot trading prices dropped significantly from the start of the week to Thursday, despite a midweek rumor that briefly bolstered screen prices before giving way to the downward trend.

Where prices at the Southern California Border had been well into the $4.90's earlier, they fell hard to $4.53/MMBtu, taking the rest of the west with them.

There continued to be a huge spread between Permian Basin and San Juan Basin prices, but both fell substantially midweek. San Juan rested at about $3.65/MMBtu and Permian was about $3.95/MMBtu on Thursday. The continued difference between Permian and the California border encouraged marketers and end-users to ship more in from Texas. " Everyone is trying to buy Permian," one trader noted.

Operational flow orders on the PG&E system were widespread but gave way to calls on individual shippers to better align their nominations and take-outs.

Gas trading out of Alberta was very light and the price collapsed from $(C)4.95/Gigajoule to 4.64/Gj [A. O'D.].

Western Electricity Prices
Week of Mid-Week Jul 3-7, 2000
Hub Peak (heavy) Off-peak (light)
Alberta Pool (C$) 60-500 25-60
California PX (WAC) 40-90 29-47
Mid-Columbia 44-150 33-45
COB 42.5-200 35-43
Palo Verde 51-210 29-35

Archives of the Western Price Survey for the past year are also available online.


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Contact Shauna O'Donnell, editor with questions regarding Price Survey Content.

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