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Mid-Columbia spot on-peak power price reaches nearly $900/MWh, hits over 18-year high

Houston — Mid-Columbia spot prices skyrocketed to an over 18-year high Friday.

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The day-ahead on-peak price jumped $740.50 to trade in the mid-$890s/MWh on the Intercontinental Exchange for Monday delivery. The off-peak day-ahead price traded in the low $830s/MWh.

The last time Mid-Columbia spot prices were higher was in December 2000.

Power prices were boosted by record-breaking natural gas prices at Sumas.

On Friday, Sumas traded at $152/MMBtu for Saturday-Monday flow, smashing the previous record of $66.08/MMBtu, which was set in November following a pipeline explosion in British Columbia. For Saturday-only flow, Sumas was trading at $180/MMBtu.

Capacity on the T-South system, which carries gas from Canada into the Pacific Northwest through Sumas, is set to drop Monday as the result of pipeline maintenance. According to Westcoast Energy, the maintenance is expected to continue through March 6.

At the same time, temperatures in the US Northwest are expected to remain low next week, averaging 36 degrees Fahrenheit on Monday, according to CustomWeather. In comparison, when the previous Sumas record was set in November, Northwest temperatures averaged 46 F.

Demand for electricity in the Bonneville Power Administration footprint has been elevated over the last few weeks as a result of wintry weather. BPA peakload has averaged 9,250 MW this week, up from an average of 8,790 MW the previous week, according to BPA data. In November, BPA peakload averaged 7,310 MW.

The Mid-Columbia prompt-month contract also jumped Friday morning, increasing $4 to trade in the mid-$30s/MWh on ICE.

-- Kelli Ainsworth, kelli.ainsworth@spglobal.com

-- Edited by Keiron Greenhalgh, newsdesk@spglobal.com