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Western Price Survey

October 24, 2014
Cal-ISO Weathered Tough Summer

Despite major wildfires, continuing drought, and periodic heat, Cal-ISO reported it maintained grid reliability throughout the summer.

Drought conditions reduced in-state hydro production by 1,628 MW, nearly in line with the 1,669 MW derate Cal-ISO forecast before the summer. Meanwhile, solar and wind production set new records, with solar production reaching 4,903 MW on Sept. 29 and wind production reaching 4,768 MW April 12.

The highest system demand this summer was 45,090 MW, recorded Sept. 15. Last year's high demand was 45,097 MW.

On a local level, Southern California set new demand records. San Diego Gas & Electric's service area saw record use on Monday, Sept. 15, and then topped that on Sept. 16 with an all-time peak of 4,895 MW. The previous standing record peak was 4,684 MW set on Sept. 27, 2010.

Meanwhile, the Southern California Edison service area also experienced heavy loads, reaching 23,266 MW on Sept. 15. This was just shy of the all-time peak of 23,388 MW, set Sept. 7, 2011.

Working gas in storage reached 3,393 Bcf as of Oct. 17, according to U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates, a net increase of 94 Bcf from the previous week. Storage levels are now 9 percent less than a year ago and 9.1 percent less than the five-year average.

Storage should be "on course to be the largest seasonal refill on record," according to the EIA. To date in the April-through-October storage season, 2,571 Bcf of natural gas went into storage; another 139 Bcf should be added before Oct. 31, with additions expected into November. Last year, 2,029 Bcf was stored in the same period.

This week natural gas values plummeted, with Henry Hub natural gas spot values falling 19 cents since last Thursday to trade Oct. 23 at $3.60/MMBtu. Western natural gas prices also tumbled. PG&E CityGate lost 13 cents to $4.14/MMBtu. Alberta led losers, dropping 26 cents to $2.91.

Average peak power prices followed suit, with most hubs losing a dollar or two in Friday-to-Friday trading. California-Oregon Border was the exception, down $4.10, ending at $34.55/MWh. By Oct. 24, prices ranged from $32.90 at Mid-Columbia to $45.75 at South of Path 15.

Average Northwest off-peak prices lost $5.60 over the trading week, moving below $30/MWh, while Palo Verde values eroded $1.15 to $31.80/MWh. Average off-peak prices Friday ranged from $26 at Mid-C to $37.95 at North of Path 15 [Linda Dailey Paulson].

Archives of the Western Price Survey for the past year are also available online.


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