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Western Price Survey

Mid-Week Edition
September 21, 2011
Power Prices Rise on Higher Temperatures

Western power prices gained a few dollars since last Wednesday, most notably in Northern California where hotter weather has been leading to more peak energy demand.

Temperatures on Wednesday were expected to reach a high of 78°F in San Francisco versus 74 °F in San Diego. Peak demand on the Cal-ISO grid is expected to reach 38,718 MW on Wednesday evening, which should be the week's high. Demand should remain less than 38,300 MW in the week ahead, according to the grid operator.

Here's how average peak prices roughly fared in the Wednesday-to-Wednesday trading period Sept. 14 to Sept. 21:

  • Mid-C: Up $4.75 to $35.15/MWh.
  • California-Oregon Border: Gained $5.85 to $42.55/MWh.
  • NP 15: Jumped $7.20, trading at $43.95/MWh Wednesday.
  • SP 15: Gained $4.50 to $42.85/MWh.
  • Palo Verde: Up $1.95 to $40.75/MWh.

The bulk of the gains occurred at the end of last week, with a slight uptick on Monday and Tuesday. Average prices for off-peak power ranged between $22.50 and $29.75/MWh by midweek (see chart).

The 1,150 MW Columbia Generating Station began ramping up on Tuesday, according to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. As of Wednesday, the plant was reportedly operating at 2 percent of its capacity. The Richland, Wash., nuclear facility, run by Energy Northwest, had been offline for refueling and maintenance since April 1.

What's ahead: After a brief chance of rain Thursday, Seattle should have sunny skies and temperatures in the 70s. Portland highs should be in the 80s with warm, dry weather and sunny skies into the weekend. Sunny weather is also expected in the San Francisco area. Temperatures along the Northern California coast may reach the 80s. Gusty winds should bring clearer conditions to Southern California beach communities Thursday. Slight cooling in the Southern California valleys is expected into Friday, while lower mountain regions and deserts are expected to be increasingly warmer by the weekend [Linda Dailey Paulson].

Western Electricity Prices
Mid-Week: September 19 - 21, 2011
Hub Peak (heavy) Off-peak (light)
Alberta Pool (C$) 21.75-144.54 15.48-33.37
Mid-Columbia 33-39 27-30
COB 40.25-45.50 28.50-32
NP 15* 41.50-44.25 27.75-28
SP 15* 42-44.25 26.50-27.25
Palo Verde 38.75-42.25 22-23.75

* 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.

Please contact with questions or comments about this site.

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

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