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Western Price Survey

Week's End Edition
July 9, 2010
Western Power Prices Wilt With Heat; BPA Says It Can Cope

Electricity prices gained steam throughout the West this week as demand steadily increased with hot weather, but Northwest peak power deflated in Friday, July 9 trading.

Mid-Columbia daytime power, which posted steady price increases Tuesday through Thursday, traded around $30/MWh, more than $6 off the July 2 price. California-Oregon Border peak prices experienced a similar lag.

Average daytime electricity prices at South of Path 15 and North of Path 15 kept about even during the week, and ended July 9 about $1 off the previous Friday's prices.

At Palo Verde, average peak prices increased throughout the week, ending at $42.15/MWh July 9, $1.74 more than the previous Friday's price.

Nighttime power values at Mid-C improved, ending the week at an average of $21.56/MWh, up almost $5 compared to the July 2 average price. COB experienced a similar jump.

At SP15 and NP15, off-peak electricity traded between $28 and $29/MWh on July 9, up a few dollars on average compared with the previous Friday.

Peak demand on the Cal-ISO grid, which was expected to reach the week's high of 37,339 MW on July 9, should gradually increase with the anticipation of warmer weather. Electricity use exceeding 41,000 MW is predicted for Thursday, July 15.

Bonneville Power Administration forecasters expect continued hot weather in the near term and warm "but not excessively hot" temperatures into August. But the agency said late rains that deluged the region have put BPA in a good position to supply power throughout the heat wave. Grand Coulee Dam, for example, filled earlier in the year than expected.

On July 9, BPA load exceeded 7,619 MW, but the agency reported 12,306 MW of hydro, 4,980 MW of thermal power, and 267 MW of wind. The information comes courtesy a new feature on BPA's website showing real-time electricity generation and demand. See http://go.usa.gov/ODD.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, 78 Bcf went into natural gas storage for the week ending July 2, providing a total of 2.762 Tcf in storage. Inventories, now 285 Bcf greater than the five-year average, have exceeded the five-year average for 15 consecutive weeks. Storage withdrawals in the eastern United States and low imports from Canada are being offset by injections in other regions.

The EIA expects the average Henry Hub spot price for the second half of 2010 to be $4.68/MMBtu, an increase of 32 cents compared to last month's report. The agency attributes this to anticipated hurricane-based outages and drilling reductions. Spot prices traded at $4.76/MMBtu on July 7, down 23 cents from the preceding Wednesday, according to the EIA. Spot prices traded for an average Friday of $4.35.

What's ahead: After days of heat-advisory-inducing weather, the Pacific Northwest is expected to start cooling thanks to an onshore flow that should bring seasonally normal temperatures to Washington and Oregon during the coming week. San Francisco expects continued sunny, warm weather. Cooler temperatures are forecast for Southern California -- below normal in some areas -- through midweek, when a warming trend should start [Linda Dailey Paulson].

Western Electricity Prices
Week's End: July 5 - 9, 2010
Hub Peak (heavy) Off-peak (light)
Alberta Pool (C$) 10.81-300.44 8.09-38.66
Mid-Columbia 29-44 16-26.50
COB 33.50-45 19-27
NP 15* 36.25-40.25 22.25-29.50
SP 15* 36-40.50 21-28.90
Palo Verde 37-45.50 22-33

* 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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