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Western Price Survey

Mid-Week Edition
November 24, 2010
Chill Puts Stuffing in Western Energy Prices

Arctic air chilled the West and invigorated energy prices in a short trading period. Average prices for daytime power were up between $3.30 and $7.25 in the Wednesday-to-Wednesday trading period from Nov. 17 to Nov. 24.

Electricity and gas markets on the Intercontinental Exchange will be closed for the Thanksgiving holiday, so Wednesday's trades were earmarked for delivery Monday, Nov. 29.

Northwestern hubs experienced the greatest increases for a second consecutive week, led by the California-Oregon Border, which posted an average price of $41.19/MWh for daytime power Wednesday, Nov. 24. The hub gained $7.25/MWh during the trading period and recorded the week's high for spot prices among Western hubs at $58.25/MWh. Meanwhile, daytime power at Mid-Columbia traded up about $6.70 Wednesday with an average price of $38.75/MWh.

North of Path 15 gained almost $6.90/MWh during the trading period. The average price for NP15 Wednesday was $40.04/MWh. South of Path 15 average peak-power prices earned about $3.30/MWh to close at an average of $39.36/MWh Wednesday.

Off-peak power prices rose between $2.85 and $6.25/MWh in the trading period (see chart below). Peak demand on the Cal-ISO grid reached 31,238 MW on Tuesday, Nov. 23 at 6 p.m., which should prove the week's high.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, there was a total of 3.837 Tcf in storage as of Nov. 19. Storage in the Western region is now 43 Bcf greater than the five-year average.

According to Bloomberg, Henry Hub natural gas spot prices traded at an average of $3.81/MMBtu as of press time Nov. 24, up 4 cents compared to the $3.77/MMBtu reported Nov. 17Spot prices at Western hubs showed more strength, with Malin gas trading at an average of $4.39/MMBtu the day before Thanksgiving, up 47 cents from the week prior.

Henry Hub futures traded for $4.41/MMBtu Wednesday, Bloomberg reported. But futures prices are not expected to hold, according to Enerfax, since there has been no extremely cold weather across much of the United States this fall to prompt increased natural gas demand (though certain areas, such as the Northwest, have had recent temperatures in the 20s).

What's ahead: In the wake of an Arctic air blast that caused temperatures to dip to record lows in areas throughout the western United States, meteorologists are watching conditions that may bring another front to the Pacific Northwest Monday, Nov. 29. Western Washington expects precipitation through midweek, while Portland is expected to be seasonally damp through midweek. Portland-area temperatures are expected to be on a par with seasonal norms. Either light rain or a dusting of snow is possible along the California-Oregon border Tuesday. Temperatures in the South Lake Tahoe area may be below normal early next week. In the greater San Francisco area Monday and Tuesday, temperatures should reach the high 50s, with dry conditions through the week. Warmer weather is anticipated in Southern California, with Los Angeles-area temperatures anticipated to be in the high 60s Monday and Tuesday [Linda Dailey Paulson].

Editor's Note: Today's report will be the only edition for this week because of the Thanksgiving holiday.

Western Electricity Prices
Mid-Week: November 22 - 24, 2010
Hub Peak (heavy) Off-peak (light)
Alberta Pool (C$) 26.01-823.61 22.41-68.80
Mid-Columbia 30.50-59 31-43.50
COB 35.50-58.25 33-42.50
NP 15* 36-45.85 32-33.50
SP 15* 34.45-42.75 29-31
Palo Verde 34-39.75 26-32

* Prices represent both day-ahead locational marginal prices (financial swaps, or EZ Gen DA LMPs) and quasi-swap prices (EZ Gen) as reported by ICE.

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 Chris Raphael, editor with questions regarding Price Survey Content.

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