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Featured Commentary

Ugly Out There

Good Morning,

The storm is shifting south, really it is just bigger than expected and covering a wider range, now NP15 is caught within its wet crosshairs:

Hub Level 10 Cumulative Precip


Given today’s very low flows in northern California this two inches will significantly increase energy output, perhaps by 2000-3000 MW for a few days.  The cuts at Mid-C merely reflect the fact that the hub has been getting pounded for a day already, and more is on the way

Station Level Cumulative Precip


Lake Tahoe flirts with record precip, a week ago it was expecting sunny days, now just dreary and wet.  Also note the builds at Kalispel, in the heart of the Mid-C production, same with Spokane.  Our latest thinking is this is as bearish as last week’s title “Timberrrr” suggested.  The markets seem to agree, spot MidC has been destroyed:


The Friday-Saturday package cleared below a seven heat rate implying no gas unit can run, but the light load realized even more pain.


And we think that pain has only just begun and would be buying the on/off Mid-C BOM (perhaps Nov) for size.  Specifically it is the Mid-Columbia Sideflows that have our attention.


The index is currently around 4kcfs but in past fall events it has spiked as high as 23k, we think it might get even higher over the next few days, peaking next week, perhaps posting a 30k handle.  Bear in mind that is 30k of unregulated water passing through roughtly 13000 MW of generating capacity.  For the plants from Chief Joe to Priest it would be almost a doubling in generation; for the lower Columbia an increase of 30%.  Since nothing is close to hydrolic capacity new water translates, one for one, into new energy.  Except all of this new water comes in below Coulee where there is no shaping rendering those 13000 MW a big run of river plant, a really big one.


EIM was interesting yesterday, several ticks approached $1k, all on remarkably bearish fundamentals.


Note the number of instances the prices gapped, possibly driven by the loss of some generation.   Today is starting off higher than yesterday, though we struggle to see how it can post $1k prices given the weakness of every fundamental.

First Six Hours Today


EIM Energy Flows – 5 Minute Intervals


The amount of energy flowing into the ISO was impressive, averaging over 500 MW for most of the day (with several spikes over 1000 MW), further suggesting generation issues; issues that may go away with possibly 2000 MW of incremental NP hydro.

Every now and then it is interesting to examine the outside participants and see how they are faring, especially when there are $1k ticks being pased around.  Who got some of that love, given that most every outside BA was selling to the ISO?



Both Southwest Utes got the big ticks, but were they buying or selling?

NEVP & APS Net Energy Flows


APS was selling and Nevada was buying which makes APS’s PNL positive and Nevada’s ugly negative.

How about the two versions of PacificCorp?

Price (PACW & PACE)


Energy (PACW & PACE)


PacE was a seller all day but PacWest was a buyer on a few ticks, a few which posted $1k … oh oh!  Maybe the PacEast desk should operate West.

Enough of that nonsense, though it is interesting, especially with the two new players (Puget and APS) but at best it is  a sideshow.

Day Ahead LMP, Week on Week


Down, no shocker, just a shocker that the EIM could sport 900 handles.

Palo Verde Fundamentals

We still like Palo for its warm weather, nuke down, and other planned outages, but the hub will suffer from the rest of the WECC’s bearishness, just not as much.

Phoenix, AZ


Temperatures will remain above normal driving decent AC load (for October) and we still like our length here; it’s the only place to hold length unless you can find someone to sell you some Rockies BOM.

Gas Nominations


Interesting that Mesquite cranks up yet Gila barely idles, suggesting maintenance is ongoing at the latter.

Hourly Price Forecast


Another reason to like length at PV BOM – the price is not moving, so while the rest of the hubs tank PV stays the course.

SP15 Fundamentals

Burbank, CA Weather Forecast001_wxtempbur

Big rally to the mid 90s next week however it is short-term (3 days) and then back to below normal through the BOM expiry.  The heat is putting upward pressure on the forecast, the heat rates for Oct 19-21 are up 1k from two days ago:


Gas Noms


Pastoria did not nominate for today and the total hub is off 500 MMCF from last week, hardly a surprise given the coolish weather, but compare current noms to each of the last three years.  Blame much of that on renewables.

Major Units Off Line


Pastoria is the only new outage (see gas noms above) since the Wednesday post.  SP is due for a lot of planned maintenance over the next four weeks which should provide a base level of support for length, though we suspect many of these outages have been scheduled for Nov 1 following the return of the DC line …sorry, no double dipping allowed.



Monday may pose some supply issues with wind energy forecasted to rally but then quickly falls off with the high pressure induced heat for Tues-Thurs.

NP15 Fundamentals

Sacramento, CA


The only air conditioners running next week will be these things they call “windows”, as in open the window and let that lovely high 70s flow through your home.  A bearish forecast, though the cooling on the back end of BOM may hold some hope for heating load enthusiasts.


And there is hope for shorts via the couple of inches of rain scattered over the next few days.  The above is Sacramento, here is Lake Tahoe:


2.6 inches of the lovely stuff scattered over the weekend, enough to fire up a lot of idle hydro turbines.

NP15 Renewables


Massive wind of late but expected to taper off into next week.

Heat Rate Forecast


Stable but does not reflect the most recent rain forecasts, we expect those heat rates to take a tumble later next week.

Outages – Major Units


Normally we wouldn’t care if any hydro was out for maintenance, there isn’t enough water to change energy, but given the most recent outlook some of those offline units may actually have run had they been available …maybe.

Mid-C Fundamentals

Composite Temperature for the Mid-C Hub (5 Stations)


Lows are well above normal, that is bearish, but beyond this storm system the outlook takes a bullish turn with at, or below, normal temperatures projected for the remainder of the month.  Not that any of that will help that much, the Mid-C is going to be awash in energy from these storms.  We are already seeing a big uptick in flows:


Discharge at Bonneville (the dam) is up 30k and the storm has just begun.  Without the DC there will be no place for this energy to go and those 4k light load heat rates that traded over the weekend  will become the new normal for the MIdC through next week and will spill into the following week, then things might tighten up, but the pain has just begun and will increase in intensity through all of next week.

Gas Noms – MidC


The Gencos are running for the hills, telling their staff to go home and play cribbage for a few weeks.  That bodes poorly for the northwest gas market which should take a dump resulting in more salt crammed into every Mid-C orifice and wound.

Hey, here is a piece of good news for you longs to chew on.  It is going to blow so hard this weekend that most turbines won’t be able to run!  Then it will taper off and all wind will be near max output, but more good news.  BPA will be so long they will start economically dispatching those turbines .


It is Ugly Out There

  • BOM
    • Mid-C – you couldn’t pay us to buy this right now, but we are going to buy it …Long On/Off for size
    • Palo – staying long
    • SP – those $1k ticks yesterday caught us off guard and we like the heat coming next week …buying shorts back and going long
    • NP – short off of big water that is coming
  • Nov
    • Mid-C – same trade as bom, long the on/off
      • 001_tronoffmc
    • SP-NP spread
      • We are buying the SP and selling NP off of water and cheapness and a bevy of SP outages right around the corner
        • 001_trspreadspnp
      • Palo
        • Long off of fading a plunging market
          • 001_trsnovpalo
    • Q1 & Q2
      • Mid-C
        • Friday’s short position has reaped big rewards and it’s time to pay  ourselves for our prescience . Whether you take your  profits today or wait until the ugliness reaches a peak next week is up to you but it is far too early to hold any major position in Q2.  Where this water year ultimately ends up no one knows and we’d rather be short and long 20 times between now and then ….. FLAT, buying back the short for a double, perhaps a triple.