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Western Price Survey

December 9, 2016
It Was a Cold and Stormy Week

Cold, stormy weather across the western United States the week of Dec. 5 sent temperatures in many areas to below or near freezing over several nights.

With snow in the Pacific Northwest, Northwest Power Pool demand saw an uptick to 67,499 MW Dec. 8, which should be the week’s high. CAISO demand peaked at 31,059 MW Dec. 7, which should be the week’s high.

Working natural gas in storage was 3,953 Bcf as of Dec. 2, according to U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates. This is a net decrease of 42 Bcf compared to the previous week. Storage levels are now 1.3 percent greater than a year ago and 6.9 percent greater than the five-year average.

A withdrawal of 5 Bcf was reported by the Pacific region during the report week—the only region with a larger-than-average net withdrawal.

Nationwide, natural gas consumption increased 15 percent compared with the previous report week, while natural gas use for power generation increased 10 percent week over week, according to the EIA.

Henry Hub gas spot values added 25 cents between Dec. 1 and Dec. 8, ending at $3.66/MMBtu.

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Western natural gas values continued climbing, rising as much as 40 cents in trading. Sumas gained the most, ending at $3.56/MMBtu. PG&E CityGate was the exception. It shed a penny in trading to end at $3.68/MMBtu.

Meanwhile, Mid-Columbia and Palo Verde peak power values lost less than a dollar in trading between Dec. 2 and Dec. 9; however, South of Path 15 gained roughly $5.40 to reach $41.10/MWh.

Average nighttime power prices posted gains, with California-Oregon Border adding the most, up $3 and ending Dec. 9 at $27.50/MWh.

Total renewable-energy generation on the CAISO grid peaked at 10,742 MW Dec. 2, while thermal generation reached 14,658 MW Dec. 7.

What’s ahead: A wet storm system may reach the West Coast the week of Dec. 12. The timing of the storm or storms remains questionable, according to various National Weather Service forecasts. While Portland should see that system midweek, the San Francisco area, for example, may have two storms throughout the week [Linda Dailey Paulson].

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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