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Western Price Survey / Archives

November 12, 1999
Short Week Brings Lower Prices

The Veterans' Day semi-holiday crunched power dealings into the first half of the week throughout the West. By Wednesday, traders had already completed their prescheduled deals for the week, and moderate demand for power limited activity on day-of and real-time markets. Aside from the lack of any market-driving news, the reappearance of scattered rains over a broad swath of the West forced prices lower to more seasonal norms after the unusually high prices of the past month.

Opening California Power Exchange prices for Monday deliveries were 52.8 mills/KWh for peak and 30 mills/KWh for off-peak. While loads remained steady in the 570 GWh bracket each day, daytime energy moved lower to 42.7 mills by the end of the week. Off-peak roamed up to 33.7 mills for Tuesday but slid again to 27.3 mills/KWh for Friday deliveries.

The California/Oregon Border price was as high as 45 mills/KWh on Monday but dropped to about 31 mills/KWh for Friday/Saturday bundles. The moderate rainfall in the Northwest and lighter sprinkles in California loosened hydroelectricity somewhat, and Mid-Columbia trades settled in at 25.5 to 28.5 mills/KWh while off-peak prices fell to 22 mills to 23 mills/KWh.

"We're in pretty good shape, water-wise," reported a Northwest trader. "It was dryer in September, and October seemed dry, but actual figures show that October was pretty much normal in terms of inflows."

The Southwest saw prices fall inversely with the return to service of the Palo Verde No. 1 reactor--which reconnected to the grid on Tuesday and was reported at 69 percent of capacity by the end of the week. Once the unit is back, the region will have its full complement of nuclear power up to full output.

After beginning the week at about 34 mills to 36 mills/KWh, Palo Verde peak power decreased to 26 mills and 27 mills, while off-peak was just around 20.5 mills/KWh.

The only generation outage of note was 350 MW San Juan Unit No. 1, which dropped off for repairs Monday.

Scheduled maintenance on the AC Intertie cut available capacity to 2,400 MW early in the week, but most traders said they were fully prepared for the limits. One announcement that took some schedulers by surprise was continued curtailment to 3,200 MW of the California/Oregon Intertie into Friday.

The Alberta Power Pool was relatively stable, even though loads are moving close to the 7,000 MW per hour seasonal peak [Arthur O'Donnell].

Gas Prices Take the Fall

With slackening load from electric generators in Southern California and the Southwest, natural gas prices took a serious drop this week, signaling a continuation of lower power prices into next week. A slight bump-up on Thursday tracked NYMEX movement and served to reverse some of the erosion experienced earlier.

The trend had already begun late last week but accelerated with the return to service of the Palo Verde nuclear plant and a general reduction in demand.

Supply prices fell to $2.14/MMBtu at the San Juan Basin and $2.18/MMBtu at the Permian Basin.

The Southern California Border price sloped downward to $2.58/MMBtu midweek from the $2.75/MMBtu range but leveled at $2.66/MMBtu.

Canadian prices started the week above $(C)3.10/Gigajoule but fell to $2.88/Gj by Friday [A.O'D.].

Western Electricity Prices
Week of November 12, 1999
Hub Peak (heavy) Off-peak (light)
Alberta Pool (C$) 34-52 5.8-29
California PX (WAC) 42.7-52.8 27.3-33.7
Mid-Columbia 25.5-35 22-30
COB 31-45.5 22-29
Palo Verde 26-34 20.5-25

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


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

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