Western Price Survey
Week's End Edition
Daytime power prices dropped during the week when seasonably cool temperatures in the West pushed peak demand in California to occur two hours later at 6 p.m. Meanwhile, nighttime power gained value at all the hubs, led by Pacific Northwest traders who started the off-peak rally early this week.
Palo Verde had the week's biggest peak-price movement on Monday when prices swung $9/MWh and reached $59. Trading stayed calm the rest of the week as average prices dropped to $45/MWh before rebounding slightly to $47/MWh on Friday.
Light power started the week averaging $31.41/MWh, with prices falling through Thursday. It finished at a high of $36/MWh in Friday trading, however.
South of Path 15 peak power reached $60/MWh on Monday, but values dipped about $5/MWh Tuesday and lost another $6 during Thursday's normal drop. On Friday, prices recovered but were still off about $3/MWh for the week. Average nighttime power prices, meanwhile, gained about $3/MWh over Monday's average of $37.10/MWh.
Peak prices at North of Path 15 dropped from an average of $58/MWh during Monday's trading to around $46 Thursday before regaining $6 on Friday. Nighttime power prices ended the week at an average of $39/MWh, about $1 over where they started.
The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission reported Energy Northwest's 1,107 MW Columbia Nuclear Generating Station was down to 85 percent Tuesday, but a company spokesman said the reduction was planned and lasted only a few hours. The plant was listed Friday as operating at 100 percent.
California-Oregon Border daytime prices lost about $8/MWh through Thursday before rebounding to $54.70 Friday. Off-peak power rose on much cooler evening temperatures in the area, gaining about $7/MWh from Monday's $40 average.
Mid-Columbia peak prices had the least amount of loss in the West this week. Prices started at about $54/MWh and were down about $3 by the time trading for Thursday deliveries rolled around. Peak power closed the week averaging $53/MWh. Nighttime power, on the other hand, was a steady performer. Off-peak prices started Monday averaging $40/MWh and ended the week averaging $47. Low temperatures Friday were in the 40s in Seattle [Charles Redell].
Gas Prices Take a Dive on Storage, Despite Record Oil Values
Once again, the U.S. Energy Information Administration reported an increase in natural gas storage across the country and in both the East and West regions last week. Overall, national storage levels increased by 63 Bcf as the Western region added 6 Bcf to its stores.
Natural gas prices at all the Western hubs tumbled, losing between 50 cents and 80 cents/MMBtu, despite rising strength in the crude-oil markets this week, when oil reached a record price above $83/barrel. With adequate storage for the winter and mild temperatures, traders also may have pushed prices down after a tropical storm in the Gulf of Mexico this week showed no threat to natural gas infrastructure there.
The biggest drop of the week was at the San Juan Basin in New Mexico. Prices started the week averaging $5.45/MMBtu and fell steadily starting Wednesday to lose 81 cents overall.
The Permian Basin in Texas was the next-biggest loser this week, shaving 73 cents/MMBtu from its average. Natural gas prices there started at an average of $5.73/MMBtu Monday. They started falling Tuesday and didn't stop until Friday, when natural gas at the hub moved for as little as $4.82/MMBtu.
Things were no prettier at the Malin, Ore. hub, where natural gas lost 60 cents/MMBtu in value over the week. Prices there started at a strong $5.80/MMBtu and held relatively steady during Tuesday's session. The free fall began on Wednesday, and by the end of the week natural gas prices hit $5.12/MMBtu.
In Southern California, average prices dropped 56 cents/MMBtu from $5.81 Monday to $5.18 on Friday [C. R.].
Archives of the Western Price Survey for the past year are also available online.
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