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Western Price Survey

August 03, 2005
Western Power Rises with Gas

West Coast electricity prices kept to the lower end of the cost range this week. As the Midwest and East Coast heated up over the first three days of the week, the Western temperatures stayed within the seasonal average. The cost of power in the western region also remained within a range befitting of summer weather, high — but not too high — demand and escalating natural gas prices.

Northern California peak power attracted between 70.75 mills and 75.50 mills/KWh on Monday but steadily tacked on another 5-10 mills in subsequent days. By Wednesday the price of daytime power at the hub drew a high of 81.75 mills/KWh. Off-peak power north of Path 15 traded for between 47 mills and 51 mills/KWh early this week, with the high reached at midweek.

In Southern California dealings, traders hawked their peak-time wares for between 73 mills and 78 mills/KWh to start the week. By Wednesday the value of power scheduled for daytime delivery had increased to as much as 84 mills/KWh. Low-demand power south of Path 15 traded for close to the same range as in NP15 territory — between 46.75 mills and 51.75 mills/KWh — during the first three days of the week.

Though temperatures in the Southwest topped those in California by a good 20 degrees or more in some locations, power costs in the region exhibited the characteristics of supply and demand: ample power and transmission capability equals a softening in price.

Palo Verde peak power changed hands for 70 mills/KWh on Monday, tacked on another 5 mills or so the following day, and topped out at 78.50 mills/KWh on Wednesday. Off-peak power at the PV hub moved for the lowest prices in the West this week. deals for Tuesday delivery traded for between 43.75 mills and 44.75 mills/KWh to open the week, while midweek values notched merely 1-2 mills more for Thursday deliveries.

California-Oregon border daytime power was bought and sold for as much as 78.50 mills/KWh on Wednesday, up from Monday's range of 68.75 mills and 71 mills/KWh. Nighttime power at COB changed hands for between 45.50 mills and 50 mills/KWh during the first three days of this week.

Natural gas prices pushed up the cost of electricity this week. In contrast to last week, when Southern California border gas closed for a week's high of $6.85/MMBtu, this week's spot gas was already trading for as much as $7.67/MMBtu at midweek. The price hike was attributed to the uptick in the cost of crude oil, which hit $62 per barrel on the news of the death of Saudi Arabia King Fahd [Shauna O'Donnell].

Western Electricity Prices
Midweek August 1-3, 2005
Hub Peak (heavy) Off-peak (light)
Alberta Pool (C$) 9.57-424.63 13.83-59.60
Mid-Columbia 64-76 44.25-49.25
COB 68.75-78.50 45.50-50
NP 15 70.75-81.75 47-51
SP 15 73-84 46.75-51.75
Palo Verde 70-78.50 43.75-46.25

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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