Widespread public power shut-offs are being credited with pushing California natural gas prices higher in the Oct. 3 through Oct. 10 trading period.
Flows on the Redwood Path natural gas pipeline, which Pacific Gas & Electric operates, were 2.1 Bcf per day in the weeks before the shut-off and are now 0.5 Bcfd lower due to “demand destruction and a planned maintenance event,” according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. The pipeline transports gas from Malin, Ore., into California.
Western natural gas prices generally moved between 8 cents and as much as $1.93 higher. Sumas gas gained the most, up $1.93 to $4.26/MMBtu. The hub had traded at as much as $4.93 Oct. 8. Also notable was SoCal CityGate’s $1.62 increase, which moved it to $3.90/MMBtu by the end of trading.
Exceptions were El Paso-Permian Basin gas, which fell 60 cents to 74 cents/MMBtu, and El Paso-San Juan Basin, which dropped 53 cents to 97 cents/MMBtu.
Henry Hub shed 4 cents in trading to $2.20/MMBtu.
The California ISO continued to experience data issues, which it attributed to ongoing system maintenance. A disclaimer for Oct. 4 through Oct. 7 data was issued by the grid operator, reflected in a “No Good Data for Calculation” notice across several raw data points for Oct. 10.
CAISO demand reached 33,022 MW Oct. 8. Demand dropped roughly 4,200 MW between Oct. 8 and Oct. 9, remaining shy of 28,000 MW through Oct. 10, presumably a result of public-safety power shut-offs throughout the state.
Western power prices increased between $2.25 and $7.50 in trading. Palo Verde peak values rose $7.50 to $29.50/MWh, a 34-percent increase. By Oct. 10, daytime prices ranged from $29.50/MWh at Palo Verde to $36/MWh at North of Path 15.
Likewise, Western off-peak power prices added between $1.60 and as much as $3.95 by the end of trading. Although Mid-Columbia ticked up $3.95 to $32.30/MWh, Palo Verde had the greatest value increase. It gained 18 percent to $25/MWh.
Southern California Gas expects Line 235-2 to return to service by Oct. 14. The utility said this is “dependent on a successful progressive pressure restoration process after the leak repairs are completed.” Once it returns to service at a reduced pressure, it will be inspected again. The line has been out of service since Oct. 1, 2017. In continuing to restore the line to full pressure, additional leaks have been found in remote locations.
Additionally, a planned San Diego Gas & Electric systemwide curtailment of CAISO dispatchable electric generation will start Oct. 14 and is expected to last either through Oct. 21 or until the pipeline maintenance necessitating the curtailment is completed.
Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station’s 1,333 MW Unit 3 has been off line for refueling since midnight Oct. 4. Diablo Canyon Power Plant’s Unit 2 also remains off line after being shut down for scheduled refueling and maintenance Sept. 22.