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Western Price Survey

September 1, 2006
Western Power Prices Move Down on Lower Demand

The warming trend in evidence during the first part of this week leveled off during the latter half, quashing any expectations of abnormally hot weather over the upcoming Labor Day weekend and settling prices in Western power markets.

The price of peak power at the North of Path 15 hub topped out at the beginning of the week at 63 mills/KWh. In order to accommodate the Friday start of a new month as well as the three-day weekend, trading on Tuesday was conducted for deliveries scheduled for the Wednesday and Thursday period.

Packages of daytime power that day moved for between 59.50 mills and 64 mills/KWh. Friday and Saturday deliveries attracted the same range of prices in Wednesday's trading session. Around-the-clock power scheduled for consumption on Sunday and Monday changed hands on Thursday for between 45 mills and 56 mills/KWh. Power scheduled for shipment next Tuesday moved for as much as 70.50 mills/KWh on Friday.

Off-peak power values at NP15 moved little during the first half of the week. Opening on Monday for between 42.50 mills and 44 mills/KWh, that price range widened a bit on Wednesday, to between 41.25 mills and 44.50 mills/KWh. The value of nighttime power sagged as low as 37.75 mills/KWh at the end of the week.

In the South of Path 15 region, peak-time power reached a high of 66 mills/KWh in both Tuesday and Wednesday trading. Deliveries scheduled for Sunday and Monday traded for between 50.25 mills and 57.50 mills/KWh on Thursday. Expectations of increased demand next Tuesday drove the price up to a high of 71 mills/KWh on Friday. Nighttime power at SP15 changed hands for between 42.25 mills and 44 mills/KWh in Monday trading. The price stuck close to that range during the following two days as well.

Power at the Palo Verde hub was held below the 60 mills mark this week. PV peak power attracted between 56 mills and 58.25 mills/KWh on Monday, edging to a high of 59.50 mills/KWh on Wednesday. By Thursday the price of Sunday and Monday packages slipped to between 44.25 mills and 51.75 mills/KWh. Low-demand power at Palo Verde turned out to be the bargain this week, moving for between 36.75 mills and 40 mills/KWh in the early part of the week. The price bottomed out on Friday at 32.75 mills/KWh.

Northwest daytime power at the Mid-Columbia hub drew as much as 55 mills/KWh at the start of the week. Traders threw another 2 mills at bids for power traded on Tuesday before hitting the high-water mark of 63 mills/KWh the following day. Nighttime power at Mid-C opened the week trading for between 42.50 mills and 44.75 mills/KWh. ATC deliveries for next Sunday and Monday were valued at between 51 mills and 58.75 mills/KWh.

Forced outages were almost nonexistent this week. Reliant's Ormond Beach Unit No. 1 continues on an unplanned outage, but with other facilities fit as a fiddle, the unit's 741 MW was not especially missed. The only other unscheduled outage of any consequence was the Monday shutdown of AES' 495 MW Redondo Unit No.8. The power plant was back in operation the next day.

Unit No. 2 at Pacific Gas & Electric's Diablo Canyon nuclear facility was ramped down to about 73 percent of its full 1,100 MW capacity because of a leak in the facility's cooling system. The leak was repaired and the unit was back operating at full output Friday morning. [Shauna O'Donnell].

Gas Slips as Storm Skips Gulf Facilities

The price of natural gas on the spot market swooned with relief when it became apparent that Tropical Storm Ernesto would bypass Gulf Coast production facilities. Even the futures price took a hit this week. Gas scheduled for delivery early next month at Henry hub drew $6.29/MMBtu on Thursday, down about 10 percent from last week's price.

After opening on Monday at a high of $6.02/MMBtu, gas at the Texas Permian Basin fell down to the range of $4.62 to $5/MMBtu on Friday.

Gas entering California at the Topock receipt point dropped more than a dollar over the course of the week. Trading on Monday for between $6.08 and $6.165/MMBtu, gas delivered to Topock cost as little as $4.85/MMBtu at the end of the week.

At the Northern California border receipt point at Malin, gas entered the state at a rate of between $5.98 and $6.015/MMBtu on Monday. The commodity lost little value over the next few days of trading, but by Friday was attracting as little as $4.85/MMBtu.

[S. O'D.].

Western Electricity Prices
Aug. 28-Sept. 1, 2006
Hub Peak (heavy) Off-peak (light)
Alberta Pool (C$) 39.14-999.99 mills/KWh 24.04-191.39 mills
Mid-Columbia 52-63 42.50-47.25
COB 55.25-66 43.25-46
NP 15 59.50-70.50 37.75-44.50
SP 15 58.50-71 37.50-44
Palo Verde 50-59.50 32.75-40

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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