The first of October marked the beginning of a new water year that is kicking off with "significantly more" in storage than in the prior year, according to the California Department of Water Resources.
Above-average snow and precipitation have pushed reservoir storage statewide to 128 percent of average through the end of September. That equates to roughly 29.7 million acre-feet of water in storage.
In addition to a snowpack that was at 175 percent of average on April 1, there were more than 30 atmospheric rivers during the water year, many of which made landfall in Northern California, according to DWR.
"The significant rainfall and snowpack made for a great water year in 2019, so we start the new year in a good place," Karla Nemeth, director of the agency, said in a news release. "However, we all know too well that California's weather and precipitation is highly variable. What we could have today could be gone tomorrow."
The water year runs from Oct. 1 to Sept. 30.
Although California ISO small-hydro figures seemed to spike this week, the data aberration is likely due to ongoing system maintenance. CAISO data for Oct. 1 at 11 a.m. showed small-hydro production at 43,378 MW, while thermal sources were at minus 38,348 MW. A disclaimer for that date was issued by the grid operator (see box).
CAISO demand reached 30,914 MW Oct. 3.
Northwest peak power prices saw gains in Sept. 26 through Oct. 3 trading. Mid-Columbia peak values gained the most, increasing $9.75 to $31.65/MWh. By the end of trading, South of Path 15 daytime prices fell $6.40 to $30.40/MWh. Prices ranged from $22/MWh at Palo Verde to $32.50/MWh at North of Path 15.
Mid-C nighttime power added $9 to reach $28.35/MWh and California-Oregon Border off-peak values were up $8 to $28.25/MWh. Other hubs' price movements varied by less than a dollar.
Meanwhile, natural gas prices in the West moved generally lower by the end of trading. SoCal CityGate dropped the most, down 82 cents to $2.28/MMBtu. The exceptions were Alberta gas, which ticked up 10 cents to $1.10/MMBtu, and Sumas gas, which added 12 cents to $2.33/MMBtu.
Henry Hub dropped 27 cents in trading to $2.24/MMBtu.
In September, the average high peak price at Henry Hub was $2.74/MMBtu, 39 cents less than in 2018 (see "Price Trends").
Western natural gas hub prices varied, with SoCal Border natural gas gaining 53 cents year over year to reach $3.35/MMBtu. Malin natural gas shed 11 cents to $2.45/MMBtu in 2019.
Western power prices in the month gained between $12 and as much as $49.50. Palo Verde posted the greatest year-over-year increase, up $49.50 to $88.50/MWh.