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Western Price Survey

September 23, 2016
Late-Season Heat Boosts Power Prices

Forecasts calling for hotter temperatures across California sent Western prices higher, with peak power jumping between $10 and $14/MWh in a single day’s trading Sept. 22 to Sept. 23.

Portions of the Los Angeles area should see daytime highs exceeding the century mark Sept. 26, as should inland Northern California. That same day, San Francisco highs are expected to reach 85 °F. CAISO grid demand should be around 39,000 MW both Sept. 26 and 27.

With the end-of-trading-week lift, peak power prices across the West gained between $6 and as much as $9.25 by Sept. 23.

Average nighttime power prices followed suit, adding between 75 cents and as much as $8.

New analysis from the U.S. Energy Information Administration finds price differences between the Southern California CityGate hub and the benchmark Henry Hub were more volatile during summer 2016.

The comparison was made for June through August of this year versus 2015 pricing. Although the agency did not supply precise data, a graphic shows at least two points this year in which the difference between Henry Hub and SoCal CityGate was more than 80 cents. At least five times, Southern California prices were roughly 20 cents less than the Henry Hub price.

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The price swings are attributed to conditions at Aliso Canyon. The agency added that the price differentials at times during summer 2016 “rivaled winter season peaks.”

The EIA also has released a “Southern California Daily Energy Report,” intended “to help give context to the Aliso Canyon natural gas storage situation.” The report contains information on net gas withdrawals, storage, temperatures, and load in the SoCal region.

Working natural gas in storage was 3,551 Bcf as of Sept. 16, according to EIA estimates. This is a net increase of 52 Bcf compared to the previous week. Henry Hub gas spot values gained 19 cents in Thursday-to-Thursday trading, ending at $3.15/MMBtu Sept. 22. Western natural gas prices gained between 14 and 24 cents in trading.

Demand peaked on the CAISO grid at 38,653 MW Sept. 19, which should be the high for the week. Northwest Power Pool use reached 54,835 MW that same day [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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