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Western Price Survey

September 26, 2014
Energy Prices Jumbled as Fall Arrives

Fall arrived with a whimper in the West.

Peak demand on the Cal-ISO grid fell about 5,800 MW compared to the previous week's high. Grid demand reached 38,903 MW on Sept. 24, which should be the week's high. Northwest Power Pool demand reached the week's high of 52,214 MW on Sept. 23.

Peak power prices at the Mid-Columbia and California-Oregon Border hubs fell roughly $6/MWh in Friday-to-Friday trading. Palo Verde was relatively static, ending at $39.60/MWh. By the end of the week, prices ranged from $33.95/MWh at Mid-C to $48.55/MWh at South of Path 15.

Off-peak prices also lost value during the trading period. Northwest hubs dropped a couple of dollars in trading, while Palo Verde lost 80 cents to $34.25/MWh. Average off-peak prices Friday ranged from $31.75 at Mid-C to $34.40 at COB.

Working gas in storage reached 2,988 Bcf as of Sept. 19, according to U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates, a net increase of 97 Bcf from the previous week. News of the addition, although above consensus, failed to pressure prices, noted Barclays analysts in their weekly commodities report. Prices should remain rangebound with cool weather and strong injections expected.

Gas-storage levels are now 11.4 percent less than a year ago and 12.5 percent less than the five-year average.

This week, Western natural gas supplies posted no net change, EIA said.

There are now six weeks remaining in the traditional natural gas storage season, which ends Oct. 31; however, additions to storage have continued into November for each of the past 11 years, according to the agency. At the end of October the working natural gas inventory is expected to be 3,477 Bcf.

Natural gas values fell, with Henry Hub spot prices down 10 cents since last Thursday to trade Sept. 25 at $3.88/MMBtu. In the West, Alberta dropped 25 cents to $3.35/MMBtu while Sumas fell 23 cents to $3.66. Western natural gas prices dropped between 14 and 25 cents in Thursday-to-Thursday trading.

Renewable-energy production on the Cal-ISO grid reached 7,428 MW Sept. 21. Solar production peaked at 4,889 MW Sept. 22.

What's ahead: A mixed bag of weather is expected across the West the week of Sept. 29. Los Angeles should be in the 80s and windy, while San Francisco expects gradual warming with day-time highs in the 70s. The first snow of the season is expected at higher elevations in Oregon on Sept. 30 [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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