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Western Price Survey

Week's End Edition
July 13, 2012
Electricity Values Go Cold

After a temporary boost from hot weather, Western power prices fell sharply in the July 6 to July 13 trading period.

Both power and natural gas prices across the region lost value, erasing the previous week's gains. Prices weren't helped by an extended forecast calling for cooler weather across California and Arizona.

Here's how average prices for Western peak power fared over the trading period:

  • Mid-Columbia: Down almost $3.35 to $25.15/MWh.
  • California-Oregon Border: Lost roughly $7.15 to about $29.70/MWh.
  • South of Path 15: Dropped about $12.50 to around $33.80/MWh.
  • North of Path 15: Down almost $7.70 to roughly $29.15/MWh.
  • Palo Verde: Lost about $6.70 to $31.65/MWh.

Meanwhile, average off-peak prices at Western hubs lost between $2/MWh and $11.40/MWh on average during the trading period. California-Oregon Border posted the greatest losses, plunging $11.40 to roughly $6.80/MWh. Off-peak prices Friday ranged from about $1.05/MWh at Mid-C -- where ample hydropower continues to keep some prices in negative territory -- to $24.50/MWh at SP15.

Working gas in storage reached 3,135 Bcf as of Friday, July 6, according to U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates, a net increase of 33 Bcf from the previous week. Storage levels are now 21.2 percent higher than a year ago and 19.7 percent above the five-year average.

Enerfax reports that this week's storage increases were less than normal, which it attributes to hotter weather across the continental United States.

Western spot natural gas prices fell a few cents in Friday-to-Friday trading. Henry Hub natural gas closed July 13 at $2.88/MMBtu, down 6 cents compared with the previous Friday. In the West, PG&E CityGate dropped 8 cents to $2.97/MMBtu; Malin lost a nickel to $2.71; and Southern California Border gas remained even at $2.86.

Peak demand on the Cal-ISO grid reached a high of 42,767 MW on Wednesday, although it is expected to drop to 35,682 MW by July 19. Northwest Power Pool demand reached 59,821 MW Thursday.

What's ahead: Cooler temperatures below seasonal norms are predicted across the Southwest in the week ahead. Phoenix-area temperatures should remain above the century mark, but with below-normal daytime highs through July 18. Both Los Angeles and San Francisco should have mostly sunny days with temperatures in the 60s through Thursday.

Warm weather continues across the Pacific Northwest through Thursday. Mostly sunny skies and highs in the 70s are expected in Seattle through Thursday. The Portland area expects temperatures near 80 into Thursday under clear or mostly sunny skies [Linda Dailey Paulson].


Western Electricity Prices
Week's End: July 9 - 13, 2012
Hub Peak (heavy) Off-peak (light)
Alberta Pool (C$) 10.40-1,000 10.25-226.58
Mid-Columbia 21.50-37 (-)7-5
COB 28.50-43 4.25-15
NP 15* 29-41.50 17-22.50
SP 15* 33.50-48 18-24.50
Palo Verde 31.25-40 15.50-21.75

* 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.

Please contact webmaster@newsdata.com with questions or comments about this site.

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

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