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Western Price Survey

Week's End Edition
December 7, 2007
Cold Weather Takes Prices Higher

Cooler temperatures early this week jolted traders who pushed up peak prices by $7/MWh on Wednesday. By Friday, daytime power values were $3 to $11 higher than on Monday.

At South of Path 15, heavy power gained around $5 to average $72.56/MWh on Wednesday, only to dip on Thursday and finish Friday 9 cents below Wednesday's high. Nighttime power rose $2 through Wednesday to an average of $52.96, and then picked up $8 to end the week.

North of Path 15 peak values ballooned $4 to $72.89 and then added slightly less than $1 by Friday. Off-peak power had the same trend, starting the week at an average of $51.35 before closing out at an average of $60.39 on Friday.

Arizona's Palo Verde hub saw daytime deliveries shoot up $4 to an average of $57.31, then slip to $56.04 by Friday. Light power hit an average of $44.03 on Wednesday, up $2, and then skyrocketed to $53.10.

California-Oregon border daytime prices soared around $6 to $72 on Wednesday, then inched up 54 cents by Friday. On Wednesday, nighttime power increased $3 to an average of $55.35 before swelling $8 by week's end.

With Washington battling an early-week deluge classified as one of the worst in 100 years, Mid-Columbia hub prices climbed to $68.42, up about $6 on Wednesday. They took a rest on Thursday and then expanded by $2. Light power rose from an average of $52.17 on Monday to $59.64 on Friday.

Los Angeles and Palm Springs could see more rain, which will linger through Sunday. Next week, sunny weather will return, with temperatures in the low 60s.

The same storm that brought rain to California will produce good chances of rain for Phoenix through Tuesday. Expect temperatures to drop Friday from the low 70s to the low 60s by Saturday.

Seattle will finally enjoy sunny weather through Monday, with daytime temperatures in the mid-40s. There's also a slight chance of rain. In Portland, rain was expected to linger through Friday and to be replaced by fog over the weekend. Rain may appear again, but it will likely be more in the form of clouds than precipitation. Temperatures should be in the high 40s.

The Diablo Canyon nuclear plant, located near San Luis Obispo in Southern California, had to power down its two 1,100 MW units on Tuesday because of high waves. Large swells were tearing up kelp growing off the coast and plugging the plant's intake valves. Reducing the station's power helped shave the pressure on the valves. Diablo Canyon's Unit No. 1 was back at full capacity Wednesday and Unit No. 2 was expected to be fully operational Friday.

At the Palo Verde plant in Arizona, 1,311 MW Unit No. 1 was operating at reduced capacity on Thursday and Friday while a heater drain pump was replaced. The unit was expected to come back on line later Friday [Kristina Shevory].

Natural Gas Prices Fight Off Drawdown, End Week Static

Frigid temperatures blanketed much of the country last week, forcing many people to crank up their furnaces to fight off the cold. Natural gas supplies fell nationwide by 88 Bcf last week to 3.44 Tcf, the Energy Information Administration said in its weekly storage report Thursday. Despite the drop, stockpiles are still higher than last year, when they stood at 3.408 Tcf.

In the West, natural gas in storage slipped 14 Bcf to 463 Bcf. However, supplies are currently 2.2 percent higher than in the same period last year.

Although supplies fell more sharply than expected, prices remained calm this week, bobbing between $6 and $7/MMBtu, mainly because there are still plentiful supplies tucked away across the country.

Although prices ticked up on Tuesday in the West, gains were muted to about 20 cents/MMBtu at each hub. Prices again climbed modestly Thursday with the release of the EIA report, but closed out the week more or less where they started on Monday. Prices at Permian and San Juan were among the lowest in the West, at an average of $6.34 and $6.33, respectively, while Pacific Gas & Electric's CityGate was the highest at $7.24 [K. S.].

Western Electricity Prices
December 3 - 7, 2007
Hub Peak (heavy) Off-peak (light)
Alberta Pool (C$) 53.34-734.28 22.30-130.02
Mid-Columbia 60-72.50 50-63
COB 63.75-73 52-62.50
NP 15 65.50-76.75 48.75-66.05
SP 15 65.25-76.50 48.50-66
Palo Verde 48.75-61.30 40-62

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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