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Western Price Survey

August 17, 2018
Western Power Prices Continue Descent

Western power prices continued falling following recent heat-prompted highs.

Average peak power prices across the region lost roughly 60 percent between Aug. 9 and Aug. 16. Prices had climbed above the $100 mark Aug. 9, but by Aug. 16 Western daytime power prices ranged from $47.95/MWh at Mid-Columbia to $61.15/MWh at South of Path 15.

Palo Verde peak power lost the most in trading, as prices plummeted from $163/MWh to $52.75/MWh, a drop of nearly 68 percent.

Off-peak power prices dropped between $7.85 and as much as $20.55 in trading. SP15 nighttime values fell $20.55, ending at $41.20/MWh. At Palo Verde, off-peak power tumbled 39 percent in the trading period, ending at $31.50/MWh.

California Independent System Operator demand reached 43,933 MW on Aug. 10, which should be the week’s high. That same day, thermal sources supplied 17,714 MW, or roughly 40 percent, of demand. Renewables on the CAISO grid reached 13,825 MW Aug. 13, supplying roughly 34 percent of demand.

Grid operations were normal throughout the week, according to CAISO spokesman Steven Greenlee.

Working natural gas in storage was 2,387 Bcf as of Aug. 10, according to U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates. This is a net increase of 33 Bcf compared with the previous week.

Natural gas storage levels are now 22.3 percent less than a year ago and 20 percent less than the five-year average.

Natural gas demand for power generation across the country decreased 4 percent week over week, according to the EIA.

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Henry Hub natural gas spot prices added a penny in Aug. 9 to Aug. 16 trading, ending at $2.99/MMBtu.

Among Western hubs, Stanfield and Sumas gas values increased the most, both gaining 9 cents during the week. The hubs’ prices ended at $2.68/MMBtu and $2.66/MMBtu, respectively.

In Southern California, SoCal CityGate natural gas prices fell $9.84 in trading, ending at $5.97/MMBtu Aug. 16. SoCal Border natural gas dropped $1.04 to $2.90/MMBtu in the trading period.

Additional planned and unplanned maintenance at Southern California Gas Co. facilities is compounding existing regional challenges. SoCal Gas reported fuel-system repairs at its Playa del Rey storage field starting Aug. 15. –Linda Dailey Paulson.

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 Mavis Scanlon, editor with questions regarding Price Survey content.

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