Western Price Survey
Week's End Edition
California peak-power prices ebbed slightly while Northwestern values gained a few dollars over the July 20 to July 27 trading period.
Here's how average prices for Western peak power fared since last Friday:
For off-peak prices, Palo Verde led hubs with a $3.30 gain over the trading period. Mid-C resumed posting negative values for off-peak power Thursday and Friday, ending trading even with the previous week. Average off-peak prices Friday ranged from -35 cents/MWh at Mid-C to around $28.35/MWh at SP15.
Working gas in storage reached 3,189 Bcf as of Friday, July 20, according to U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates, a net increase of 26 Bcf from the previous week. Storage levels are now 18 percent higher than a year ago and 15.8 percent above the five-year average.
Natural gas futures reached a 7-month high of $3.19 July 24, as a result of record heat in the Midwest and Northeast that caused consumers to turn on their air conditioners. This week's futures prices are roughly 65 percent higher than lows recorded in the spring, according to Reuters. Henry Hub futures ended Friday at $3.01/MMBtu.
In its Friday report, Enerfax stated that although weather is spurring short-term demand for natural gas, by summer's end "the overall storage inventory" -- which is at record highs -- "will become more of a concern."
Western spot natural gas prices were up a few cents in Friday-to-Friday trading. Compared to the previous Friday, Henry Hub natural gas gained 7 cents, ending at $3.09/MMBtu. In the West, Southern California Border rose 5 cents, ending at $2.99. PG&E CityGate and Malin gas were up 4 cents over the trading period, finishing at $3.07/MMBtu and $2.83/MMBtu, respectively.
Peak demand on the Cal-ISO grid reached 39,070 MW Monday, July 23. Northwest Power Pool demand reached 56,438 MW Thursday.
What's ahead: Starting Monday, July 30, Los Angeles should have cloudy weather with temperatures in the mid-70s into Thursday. San Francisco expects mostly sunny days with temperatures near 70 °F through Thursday. Sunny skies and daytime highs around the 70s are anticipated in Seattle in the week ahead, while the Portland area should remain near the 80-degree mark under mostly sunny skies for that same period [Linda Dailey Paulson].
* 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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