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Western Price Survey

Week's End Edition
July 30, 2010
Western Power Prices Slightly Up

Although Western weather continued cooling this week, average power prices at most hubs mended the week a few dollars higher compared to the previous Friday.

Average peak prices fluctuated throughout the week, with only North of Path 15 prices experiencing a loss for the week ending July 30 compared with the previous week.

Among daytime electricity prices, Mid-Columbia posted steady, daily price increases against last week's prices. By Friday, the hub was trading at $1.50/MWh more than the July 23 price of $41.33/MWh.

California-Oregon Border peak values were inconsistent throughout the week. Daytime power for the hub traded at an average price of $46.32/MWh Friday, a gain of about $1.25 compared to the previous week.

California prices continued to be soft. NP15 posted losses all week long. The July 30 average price for daytime power of $41.48/MWh was a loss of about $1 versus the previous Friday. Average prices at South of Path 15 ended the week up a dollar at $45.60/MWh.

After a weak start, average prices at Palo Verde gained value. By Friday, the average peak price was $44.34/MWh, $3.20 more than last Friday's average price. The hub also had the strongest spot value for off-peak power. Nighttime average prices at all Western hubs ranged between about $29.50 and $33.50/MWh.

Peak demand on the Cal-ISO grid reached a 35,072 MW high Thursday at 5 p.m. This week's high was forecast for July 30 at 5 p.m., when demand was expected to reach 35,344 MW. The grid operator expects the next surge in demand Tuesday, Aug. 3, when use may close in on 40,000 MW.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, a 28 Bcf addition to natural gas reserves provided a total of 2.919 Tcf in storage as of July 23. This addition was 42 Bcf less than the 70 Bcf injection made during the same time last year.

Henry Hub spot prices traded at $4.75/MMBtu on July 28, up 1 percent from the preceding Wednesday, according to the EIA, and traded at an average of $4.81 on Friday. Gas futures for the hub traded at $4.77/MMBtu on July 28, which was 6 percent higher compared with July 21. Bloomberg reported futures were trading at $4.86/MMBtu Friday, July 30.

Columbia Generating Station, the Richland, Wash. nuclear facility owned by Energy Northwest, is still not fully operational. The facility decreased generation to 65 percent power at approximately 9 p.m., July 27 to isolate a pipe from the plant's main condenser with a flexible expansion joint needing repair. Operations will continue at this level until repairs are complete.

What's ahead: Temperatures along the West Coast are expected to be in the normal-to-cooler range the first week of August. The Seattle area should have temperatures in the 70s, while coastal Washington will be cooler. Portland temperatures are expected to remain in the high 80s for the work week. Increasingly warmer weather is anticipated in the Los Angeles area through Wednesday. Inland California temperatures are forecast to be within seasonal norms. Modesto and Redlands should see the mid-90s through midweek, with Fresno and Bakersfield nearing the century mark [Linda Dailey Paulson].

Western Electricity Prices
Week's End: July 26 - 30, 2010
Hub Peak (heavy) Off-peak (light)
Alberta Pool (C$) 17.23-51.60 18.64-66.35
Mid-Columbia 35-46.25 27-32.75
COB 38-49 28-33.25
NP 15* 39-43.50 29.75-33
SP 15* 41-47.50 28.05-34.75
Palo Verde 39-49.50 26.75-37

* 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 with questions or comments about this site.

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

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