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Western Price Survey / Archives

October 15, 2004
Late-Week Cooling Trend Weighs Prices Down

The California Independent System Operator peak demand hit close to 34,000 MW on Tuesday, ran up to about 34,500 MW the following day and was predicted to top 35,300 MW on Thursday. Still, a cooling trend wafted in from off the Pacific Ocean and the peak that day reached only 34,380 MW. The trend in the weather deflated power prices late in the week.

As usual in Western power pricing, trades north of Path 15 led this week, hitting a high of 63 mills/KWh on Thursday for peak-time deliveries over the coming weekend. The off-peak price for power in Northern California ranged from a low of 34.25 mills/KWh on Monday to a high of 41 mills/KWh for next week deliveries.

In Southern California, low-demand power attracted as much as 35.25 mills/KWh at midweek before hitting 37 mills/KWh for next Monday deliveries. Peak power changed hands at SP15 for between 49 mills and 56.50 mills/KWh during the first half of the week before dropping to around 49 mills/KWh on Friday.

Further north, at the California-Oregon Border, prices were weaker on account of cooler temperatures. The cost of peak power ranged from 43.50 mills to 50 mills/KWh this week. Off-peak power at the hub drew between 33.75 mills and 36.25 mills/KWh this week.

Peak-time power at Mid-Columbia ranged from 39 mills 45 mills/KWh this week, with the high reached on Wednesday. Off-peak power at Mid-C attracted a high of 35 mills/KWh in Friday trading for next week delivery.

Cal-ISO's OASIS Web site showed the real-time price for power at both NP15 and SP15 ran between $30/MWh and $65/MWh most of the week. At SP15, however, the price exceeded $150/MWh for the hour ending at 3 pm on Tuesday and reached $156/MWh for the hour ending at noon on Wednesday. Thursday afternoon saw the real-time price at that level for about three and a half hours [Shauna O'Donnell].

Gas Ticks Up as Crude Soars

Natural gas prices continued to shift this way and that as the price of crude oil refused to stay put. The day-ahead cost of gas topped $5.00 at most Western delivery hubs late this week. Permian Basin gas also drew upward of that figure on Thursday, hitting $5.07/MMBtu.

With market watchers expecting a record or near-record amount of gas in underground storage at the end of the injection season, the outlook for prices in the $6.00 to $7.00 range this winter appears unlikely. Still, an excessively cold season and unanticipated supply shortfalls could change that in a hurry.

This week at the Southern California border, gas costs ranged from a low of $4.65/MMBtu on Tuesday to a high of $5.31/MMBtu at the end of the week. PG&E CityGate exceeded that price in late-week trading, going for as much as $5.45/MMBtu [Shauna O'Donnell].

Western Electricity Prices
October 11 - 15, 2004
Hub Peak (heavy) Off-peak (light)
Alberta Pool (C$) 10.49-154.60 8.01-73.47
Mid-Columbia 39-45 32.50-35
COB 43.50-49 33.75-36.25
NP 15 48-63 34.25-42
SP 15 49-56.50 30.50-37.25
Palo Verde 39-46 23.50-30

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 Shauna O'Donnell, editor with questions regarding Price Survey Content.

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