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Western Price Survey / Archives

November 23, 2001
Stuffing Not in Evidence; Lean Prices Continue Flight into Holiday

As the energy markets prepared for the Thanksgiving holiday, business continued in relatively quiet fashion, with no big surprises in electricity prices throughout the region. Gas prices were a bit of a different story, as forecasts of colder weather in the Northwest and Midwest drove the price for that commodity significantly higher than where it had settled at the end of last week.

Power prices stayed within a range of 16.75 mills to 12.55 mills/KWh for off-peak purchases at Mid- Columbia, driving up to 18.50 mills to 17 mills/KWh at peak for the holiday-driven three-day trades. Though Mid-C was characterized as "busy" by one trader, other points were said to be "pretty quiet."

Bonneville Power Administration continued the offer of 50 MW per day on Monday and Tuesday that it started up again last week after a hiatus as seller of energy. The offer was made for "market price." The BPA did not post any offer for deliveries next Sunday and Monday.

Nuclear power plant generation was reported back up to 100 percent at Diablo Canyon, San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station, Palo Verde and Columbia Generating Station. No glitches were anticipated in the systems throughout the holiday weekend. SONGS reports a planned outage for refueling of Unit 2 next May, but otherwise the prognosis for operation looked good.

California Independent System Operator load projections remained much in the same range as last week--around 30,000 to 31,200 MW. A bump up to just over 32,000 MW was forecast for Wednesday, when a spate of inclement weather was due to hit the state. Outages--both planned and unplanned--were in the 11,000 MW to 11,800 MW range.

AES, in particular, seemed to be having a run of bad luck with its California units. Alamitos Units 5 and 7 were down unexpectedly, while Unit 6 was off line as planned. The company's Huntington Beach Unit 5 was also on a forced outage, as were the Redondo Units 6 and 7, the former planned and the latter forced. Still, Cal-ISO had more than enough power to go around [Shauna O'Donnell].

Weather Drives Gas Gobbling

Gas prices jumped up from last week's lows, generally boosted by the colder weather in the Northwest and throughout the Rockies. Across the board, prices were about $0.50/MMBtu higher throughout the region. Still, some traders thought the price boost would be short- lived, tracking the weather pattern of the next week or two.

Market monitoring was not only on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's mind this week, what with its release of new guidelines to assess market power; it was also the subject of a company announcement. Reliant Energy Wholesale Group said on November 20 that it was starting a new natural gas index, called the Weather-Sensitive Gas Load Index (WGLI). The WGLI is based on the weighted sum of heating-degree-days in Chicago, Dallas, Philadelphia and Sacramento. Residential and commercial consumption forecasts will be derived from the weather information [S. O'D.].

Western Electricity Prices
Week of November 19-23, 2001
Hub Peak (heavy) Off-peak (light)
Alberta Pool (C$) N/A N/A
Mid-Columbia 18.50-17 16.75-12.55
COB 23-20.50 16.75-15.75
NP 15 23.60-20.25 19.50-17.05
SP 15 23-18.25 16.75-13.82
Palo Verde 22.85-21.25 14.25-11.97

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


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