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Western Price Survey

September 8, 2017
A Respite From Extreme Heat—At Least for Now

Temperatures across the western United States are relatively cooler than the blast-furnace highs of a week ago; however, the respite may be short-lived.

CAISO demand reached 49,909 MW Sept. 1, which was only about 360 MW shy of the all-time peak of 50,270 MW, set in July 2006.

With the extreme heat exiting, Western daytime power prices dropped between $41.80 and as much as $69.15, on average, versus the previous week. Palo Verde peak power lost the most, down $69.15 to $33.50/MWh in Friday-to-Friday trading. By Sept. 8, prices ranged from $29.35/MWh at Mid-Columbia to $44.15/MWh at North of Path 15.

Markets were closed Monday, Sept. 4, in observance of Labor Day.

Off-peak power average values also dropped, with prices from $15.80 to $32.50/MWh lower in the trading period. Mid-Columbia lost the most, down $30.20 to $23.10/MWh.

Above-normal temperatures are expected across the West throughout September. Portland and Seattle are expecting temperatures above seasonal norms yet again Sept. 11 and 12. Southern California can expect only minor temperature changes in that same period.

Working natural gas in storage was 3,220 Bcf as of Sept. 1, according to U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates. This is a net increase of 65 Bcf compared to the previous week.

Natural gas demand was flat week over week, according to the EIA, as was the amount of gas used for power generation. The average amount is 29.4 Bcf.

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The agency is now estimating the amount of gas in storage will be slightly above the five-year average, which is 3,842 Bcf, should additions match the five-year average through Oct. 31, the end of the traditional refill season. Should refill rates continue at the tepid pace of recent weeks, working natural gas in storage may be 3,746 Bcf by the end of the refill season. Natural gas storage has been whittled down by power-sector demand from above-normal average temperatures, according to the EIA, as well as “relatively high” levels of natural gas exports.

Henry Hub natural gas spot values shed 2 cents to $2.88/MMBtu between Aug. 31 and Sept. 7.

In Thursday-to-Thursday trading, Opal natural gas gained the most among Western hubs, up 2 cents to end at $2.72/MMBtu. Alberta natural gas posted the greatest loss, down 94 cents to 42 cents/MMBtu. –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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