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Western Price Survey

September 6, 2013
Northwest Power Prices Skyrocket

After an August lull, daytime power prices in the West are starting off strong in September.

Mid-Columbia added $20.70/MWh in the Aug. 30 to Sept. 6 trading period, ending today at $69.45. California-Oregon Border prices gained $17.15 to $72.30/MWh.

California daytime prices jumped about $10 in the Friday-to-Friday trading period, with South of Path 15 finishing at about $62/MWh.

Forecasts are calling for hotter weather in Seattle and Portland starting on Monday, with Portland highs climbing into the 90s by midweek.

Meanwhile, the SCADA system responsible for feeding load and generation data to the Bonneville Power Administration's website failed Thursday, Sept. 5 at about 10:30 a.m.

"After the system was brought back up, we started receiving zeros for all input data," said the agency's Michael Hansen, who added that the problem was cor-rected Friday morning. "Unfortunately, we are often not able to backfill lost information following source system failures."

Looking back at last month, peak-power prices at Western hubs have been more stable than in August 2012, when a few peak days contributed to price vola-tility, particularly in the Northwest. Gas prices, mean-while, trended higher as a whole last month compared with August 2012's (see "Price Trends," next page).

Working gas in storage reached 3,188 Bcf as of Aug. 30, according to U.S. Energy Information Admini-stration estimates, a net increase of 58 Bcf from the previous week. Storage levels are now 6.2 percent less than a year ago and 1.4 percent greater than the five-year average.

The storage addition dragged on natural gas prices. Henry Hub gas values shed 2 cents since last Friday, trading Sept. 6 at $3.54/MMBtu. Western prices also moved a few cents lower, except at Southern California Border, which added 7 cents to almost $3.87/MMBtu (see table at right).

Natural gas prices should stay near $3.50/MMBtu in the short term, according to Barclays analysts. Values may reach $3.80/MMBtu in the fourth quarter of 2013, the analysts forecast in their weekly com-modities report.

Markets were closed Monday, Sept. 2, in obser-vance of the Labor Day holiday.

What's ahead: The National Weather Service forecasts an increased probability of above-normal temperatures across the West between Sept. 11 and 19 [Linda Dailey Paulson].

Archives of the Western Price Survey for the past year are also available online.


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

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