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Western Price Survey

September 19, 2014
Power Prices Dip With Cooler Temps

Heat and wildfires dominated headlines across the western United States this week, but power prices moved lower on cooler weather forecasts.

Peak demand on the Cal-ISO grid reached 44,671 MW Sept. 15, which should be the week's high. Northwest Power Pool demand reached the week's high of 55,065 MW that same day.

Five days of record-breaking temperatures, thunderstorms, and high winds pushed San Diego Gas & Electric demand to record levels on two consecutive days. After reaching a new high of 4,781 MW Sept. 15, it was bettered, reaching 4,890 MW Sept. 16.

SDG&E noted it worked with Cal-ISO "to monitor the high demand and ensure the transmission system was running smoothly." It also used the Sunrise Powerlink to import 450 MW of new solar and wind capacity generated in the Imperial Valley region to meet higher peak demand.

Western power prices fell between $10 and $14.50 in Friday-to-Friday trading. After a sharp up-tick last week, average peak prices moderated with values ranging from $39.55 at Palo Verde to $44.90 at California-Oregon Border by Sept. 19.

Neither North nor South of Path 15 posted trades Sept. 19 for peak or off-peak power.

Off-peak prices also fell during the trading period. Northwest hubs dropped roughly $6, and Palo Verde tumbled $3.65 in trading to $35.05/MWh.

Working gas in storage reached 2,891 Bcf as of Sept. 12 according to U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates, a net increase of 90 Bcf from the previous week. Storage levels are now 12.2 percent less than a year ago and 13.3 percent less than the five-year average.

Natural gas values rose, with Henry Hub gas spot prices up 5 cents since last Thursday to trade Sept. 18 at $3.98/MMBtu. Western prices jumped between 10 and 13 cents in Thursday-to-Thursday trading. Four hubs added 13 cents each in the period, including Alberta, which ended trading at $3.60/MMBtu, and Stanfield, which ended at $3.92.

Renewable-energy production on the Cal-ISO grid reached 7,986 MW Sept. 18. Thermal generation reached 26,351 MW Sept. 15 (see "Power Gauge," next page), exceeding 20,000 MW for 11 consecutive hours that same day.

What's ahead: Cooler weather is expected across the West the week of Sept. 22. Although temperatures in the Pacific Northwest should be near-normal starting Sept. 22, Los Angeles temperatures should be below normal by Sept. 25 [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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