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Western Price Survey

October 6, 2017
Power Prices Rise; Gas Mostly Flat

Power prices generally rose at key hubs in the West over the past week, mostly on Oct. 6, with Mid-Columbia and California-Oregon Border prices breaking out of the range they’ve been in since it cooled off in early September.

Natural gas prices dipped midweek, but mostly ended near last week’s levels.

The Bonneville Power Administration used less than half the electricity produced between Sept. 29 and Oct. 5. Load only exceeded combined hydro and wind generation in the first four hours of both Wednesday, Oct. 4, and Thursday, Oct. 5.

California Independent System Operator load also tamed down, with peak demand occurring Sept. 29. The highest instantaneous peak during the calendar week was 31,250 MW on Oct. 5 at 7:11 p.m.

In the same period, renewable sources accounted for 27 percent of the energy produced on the CAISO system, more than any other source. Combined hydro and renewables accounted for 39 percent of the electricity produced. For BPA, the ratio was 68 percent.

Natural gas storage continues to build. All regions added working gas to stored inventories except South Central, which has the largest regional storage capacity. The U.S. saw a net addition of 42 Bcf in the week ending Sept. 29, less than half the typical injection for the last week of September.

Some Western hubs started the week recording the lowest day-ahead gas prices in months. PG&E CityGate prices averaged $3.03/MMBtu on Oct. 2, the lowest since they briefly dipped below $3/MMBtu in late February. Henry Hub prices fell 8 cents/MMBtu on both Monday and Tuesday to end up at $2.72/MMBtu, the lowest since March 9.

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September 2017 ranges for spot power prices are large because of very high prices on Sept. 1 and Sept. 2, at the tail end of a widespread Western heat wave.

Absent those two days, all the hubs would show a 2017 range that topped out lower than the range in 2016, except Palo Verde, where the highest average peak price in September 2016 was only $35.23/MWh in what was clearly a month without much price volatility.

The Climate Prediction Center’s October outlook continues to suggest the likelihood of above-normal temperatures almost everywhere in the 48 contiguous states and Alaska.
–Alan Mountjoy-Venning.

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 Mavis Scanlon, editor with questions regarding Price Survey content.

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