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Western Price Survey

Week's End Edition
September 7, 2012
With Lax Demand, Power Prices Fall

Peak-power prices at Western hubs dropped over a shortened trading period, losing between $3 and roughly $6.50 since the previous week.

According to the National Weather Service, temperatures at or above seasonal norms are forecast throughout the western U.S. through Sept. 17. However, Cal-ISO forecasts demand to reach only 39,255 MW by Wednesday, Sept. 13.

Here's how Western average peak prices fared since Aug. 31:

  • Mid-Columbia: Dropped $6.55 to about $21.75/MWh.
  • California-Oregon Border: Lost roughly $2.80 to $27.25/MWh.
  • North of Path 15: Posted no trades Friday; last traded at $32.75.
  • South of Path 15: Dipped roughly $3.80 to almost $40.20.
  • Palo Verde: Lost about $3.15 to roughly $27.70/MWh.

Off-peak prices also posted losses by week's end, with hubs dropping between 60 cents and almost $3.15 since last Friday. Off-peak prices Friday ranged from around $20.20/MWh at Mid-C to roughly $28.95/MWh at SP15.

Working gas in storage reached 3,402 Bcf as of Aug. 31, according to U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates, a net increase of 28 Bcf from the previous week. Storage levels are now 13.1 percent higher than a year ago and 10.7 percent above the five-year average.

The 28 Bcf injection is less than expected, according to Enerfax. Last year at this time, the addition to storage was 62 Bcf. The five-year average increase for the weekly period was 60 Bcf. Enerfax expects between 45 and 55 Bcf to be added to natural gas storage next week.

Compared to the previous Friday, Henry Hub natural gas gained 1 cent, trading Friday at $2.73/MMBtu. Western spot natural gas prices also changed little by the close of Friday trading.

Peak demand on the Cal-ISO grid reached 41,470 MW Tuesday, Sept. 4, which proved the week's high. The Northwest Power Pool recorded demand of 52,508 MW the same day.

What's ahead: After highs around the upper 60s, Seattle temperatures should climb into the 70s Wednesday and Thursday. Portland will move from 69 °F Monday to 83 °F Thursday. San Francisco could break into the 70s Monday through Thursday, while Los Angeles' daytime temperatures should be around the mid-70s during the same period. Meanwhile, Phoenix will dip below the century mark Tuesday, with a daytime high of 92 °F forecast [Linda Dailey Paulson].


Western Electricity Prices
Week's End: September 3 - 7, 2012
Hub Peak (heavy) Off-peak (light)
Alberta Pool (C$) 10.23-779.82 10.17-43.10
Mid-Columbia 20.75-30 18.75-23.25
COB 26.25-35 21.65-24.25
NP 15* 32.75-38.75 21.50-22
SP 15* 37.50-44 22-29
Palo Verde 25.75-34 19.50-24

* 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.

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

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