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Western Price Survey

September 12, 2014
Wild Weather Boosts Western Prices

Western energy prices benefited from weird weather during the week. From heavy, wet snowfall in Canada to wild winds in Washington and Oregon and heat in California, Mother Nature provided a roller-coaster ride for power prices.

Peak demand on the Cal-ISO grid reached 41,502 MW on Sept. 11, which should be the week's high. Northwest Power Pool demand reached 52,141 MW on Sept. 8, but the week's high of 53,140 MW was anticipated Sept. 12.

Western peak-power prices jumped roughly $9 to almost $16 in Friday-to-Friday trading. Average peak values on Sept. 12 ranged from $50.50/MWh at Mid-Columbia to $65.50 at South of Path 15. San Diego Gas & Electric issued a press release late Friday saying it would have crews on standby as some of the hottest weather of the season approached over the weekend.

Off-peak prices made less dramatic gains during the trading period, adding between $2.65 and $5.20. Average off-peak prices Friday ranged from $38.70 at Palo Verde to $47.70/MWh at SP15. North of Path 15 posted no trades on the Intercontinental Exchange the majority of the week.

Working gas in storage reached 2,801 Bcf as of Sept. 5, according to U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates, a net increase of 92 Bcf from the previous week. Storage levels are now 13.7 percent less than a year ago and 14.2 percent less than the five-year average.

Natural gas values rose, with Henry Hub spot values up 4 cents since last Thursday to trade Sept. 11 at $3.93/MMBtu. Western prices also gained value, adding between 2 and 11 cents. Alberta led gainers, rising 11 cents to $3.47/MMBtu.

"Prices have remained subdued this summer versus the highs of last winter," noted Barclays analysts in their weekly report, "as overall weather has been cool and storage injections strong." Analysts stand behind a 3.5 Tcf end-of-season forecast.

Renewable-energy production on the Cal-ISO grid reached 7,232 MW Sept. 9. Solar production peaked at 4,507 MW Sept. 10. Thermal generation reached 20,917 MW the next day. Meanwhile, wind production in the Bonneville Power Administration area flirted with a peak of around 4,000 MW during the week (see "Power Gauge," next page).

What's ahead: Weird weather may continue as Tropical Storm Odile remnants reach California and Arizona starting Sept. 17. Cooler weather is expected in the Pacific Northwest starting Sept. 17, while near-normal temperatures are anticipated in the San Francisco area [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 Chris Raphael, editor with questions regarding Price Survey Content.

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