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Western Price Survey

Week's End Edition
August 3, 2012
California, Northwest Prices Go Different Directions

As high temperatures hit the Northwest, peak-power prices gained value over the July 27-Aug. 3 trading period, but California hubs lost value.

Here's how average peak prices fared in the West over the trading period:

  • Mid-Columbia: Gained $5.35 to about $28.10/MWh.
  • California-Oregon Border: Up about $4.80 to $32/MWh.
  • South of Path 15: Dropped $4.70 to $36.70/MWh.
  • North of Path 15: Up 80 cents to $34.80/MWh.
  • Palo Verde: Up $4.50 to around $38.85/MWh.

For off-peak power, Mid-Columbia, where prices have been very low and sometimes negative for several months, shot up almost $20.50 to about $20.10/MWh Friday. The Bonneville Power Administration's Michael Milstein said that although water flows have dropped some this week, BPA expects runoff to be high for most of August.

For off-peak power, SP15 was the sole loser among Western hubs, down $1.40 by Friday. Off-peak prices Friday ranged from about $20.10/MWh at Mid-C to almost $27/MWh at SP15.

Working gas in storage reached 3,217 Bcf as of Friday, July 27, according to U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates, a net increase of 28 Bcf from the previous week.

Storage levels are now 17.2 percent higher than a year ago and 14.5 percent above the five-year average.

Western spot natural gas prices eroded slightly in Friday-to-Friday trading. Henry Hub natural gas dropped 8 cents, trading Friday at $2.91/MMBtu. In the West, Southern California Border was down 6 cents, ending at $2.93, while PG&E CityGate lost 5 cents over the trading period, finishing at $3.02/MMBtu.

Peak demand on the Cal-ISO grid reached 40,259 MW Thursday, Aug. 2. A high of almost 42,500 MW is expected Thursday, Aug. 9, according to the grid operator. Northwest Power Pool demand reached 56,723 MW July 31.

Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station's 1,335 MW Unit No. 3 was powered down starting July 30. Arizona Public Service reports the reduction to 80 percent of capacity was necessitated by a feedwater leak. APS spokeswoman Betty Dayyo said the unit will remain at that level until repairs are completed.

What's ahead: Temperatures are expected to start cooling in the Pacific Northwest Monday, Aug. 6. Seattle should begin the week at 78 °F, remaining in the 70s through Thursday; Portland expects an 86 °F high Monday with temperatures around the 80-degree mark into Thursday.

In California, San Francisco should be cloudy with highs in the 70s over that same period. In Los Angeles, mostly sunny skies and weather in the mid-70s are anticipated.

Meanwhile, Arizona braces for searing temperatures starting Sunday, Aug. 5, when temperatures in some lower desert locations may exceed 110 °F. Forecasters expect above-seasonal highs throughout the state into midweek [Linda Dailey Paulson].

Western Electricity Prices
Week's End: July 30 - August 3, 2012
Hub Peak (heavy) Off-peak (light)
Alberta Pool (C$) 9.49-933.94 0.30-13.48
Mid-Columbia 23-30.50 0-21.25
COB 28.75-35.25 7-25
NP 15* 31.25-35 19-21.50
SP 15* 33.75-37 20.50-27
Palo Verde 30.75-40 17.50-27

* 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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