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Western Price Survey / Archives

July 23, 2004
More Heat, High Peaks to Come

Southern California transmission difficulties because of fires drove the ex-post price for both incremental and decremental power at SP15 up to $165.25/MWh in the California Independent System Operator markets for the 5 pm to 6 pm time slot on Tuesday. In order to maintain system equilibrium, Cal-ISO was purchasing as much as 300 MWh of power for each 10-minute interval in the real-time market. The real-time price for power quickly retreated after that spike, and even the record peak load on Wednesday did not drive it up significantly.

Prices throughout the West swelled as the week wore on. The California hub prices stuck to the high sixties and low seventies this week. Peak-time power at SP15 drew top dollar on Wednesday, hitting a high of 76.50 mills/KWh. That price was matched on Friday for deliveries next Monday. The low at the hub, 66.50 mills/KWh, was recorded on Monday.

NP15 high-demand power tracked about 5 mills behind the SP15 price, attracting between 66 mills and 72.50 mills/KWh. Off-peak power at NP15 opened the week at between 45 mills and 48 mills/KWh and did not move much for deliveries the rest of this week. The cost for low-demand power did rise to a high of 57 mills/KWh for next-Monday deliveries, however.

Mid-Columbia power prices trailed California costs by about 10 mills this week. Opening on Monday at a low of 56.75 mills/KWh, the price of peak power at Mid-C tacked on another 10 mills for Thursday deliveries. The week's figures trailed off on Friday as the price dropped down to 60 mills/KWh. Low-demand power in the Northwest drew between 47.75 mills and 49 mills/KWh on Monday before moving up to 52.50 mills/KWh in Wednesday trading.

Cal-ISO indicated on Wednesday that it expected the high loads to continue through the rest of the week, but there was no record broken Thursday, as peak load that day was recorded at 42,291 MW. That is fortunate, as available supplies were down by more than 1,000 MW due to the shutdown of Diablo Canyon's Unit No. 1 that day. The 1,113 MW nuclear unit developed a small leak in an oil pump and had to be taken off line for repairs. It is expected back in service this weekend.

The system operator did issue a Power Watch alert on Friday and encouraged consumers to conserve. According to the alert, a heat wave was expected to hit both Southern and Northern California next Monday. The peak demand was forecast to reach 46,252 MW that day, well above the new record set this week [Shauna O'Donnell].

Western Electricity Prices
Week of July 19 - 23, 2004
Hub Peak (heavy) Off-peak (light)
Alberta Pool (C$) 10.87-434.31 10.35-97.73
Mid-Columbia 56.75-66.75 47.75-52.75
COB 59.50-68.25 48.25-53
NP 15 61.25-73.25 45-57
SP 15 66.50-76.50 45-56
Palo Verde 67-75 40-53.75

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

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