An expansion of heat levels high enough to prompt use of gas-fired peaking generation units to meet rising air conditioning demand, abetted by a 20-cent futures advance a day earlier, resulted in weekend price gains at most points Friday. The Weather Channel (TWC) reported that with a cold front being held at bay around the Canadian border, "two-thirds of the states will see highs above 90 by Sunday."

A sizeable number of flat to as much as 37 cents lower points made it a full week of mixed price changes. The weakness was concentrated in Texas, the Midcontinent, the Chicago citygate, the Southwest and Southern California. Otherwise, gains ranged from 2-3 cents to about 20 cents.

What the Weather 2000 consulting firm called a "July-like heat wave" was already getting into the Midwest Thursday and would be spreading to the east over the weekend. As of mid-month, it added, Chicago, Cincinnati, the District of Columbia, New York City and other locations are "easily on pace" for seeing one of their top 10 hottest Junes of all time.

The Northeast, which has been relatively chilly lately (Boston's high was in the mid 60s Friday), was due to start chipping in some cooling demand following a rapid warm-up over the weekend. However, after a very hot Monday and Tuesday in the lower Northeast, a cold front will start taking regional temperatures back toward normal, TWC said.

A cold front from the Pacific Northwest would be moving into the western edge of the Midwest Sunday, but ahead of it temperatures were forecast to be in the 90s over the weekend. The Pacific Northwest was one of the few cool areas in the West Saturday and Sunday. Elsewhere in the region, weekend highs were going to be five to 15 degrees above average, TWC said, predicting that Salt Lake City would hit 97 Saturday and Denver would reach 93 Sunday. "The desert Southwest will roast between 100 and 120," the forecasting service said.

The Chicago citygate, including Alliance deliveries, fell nearly a dime after Alliance restored Authorized Overrun Service (AOS) Friday; AOS had been taken to zero Wednesday and Thursday (see Daily GPI, June 14).

El Paso's two San Juan Basin pools and the Southern California border recorded Friday's biggest losses despite high temperatures in the 90s and 100s being predicted for inland California and the desert Southwest.

PG&E ended a high-inventory OFO Saturday that had been in effect for three days, allowing Malin and the PG&E citygate to rise nearly a nickel each.

Everything is warming up, so prices are too, a Houston-based marketer commented. He expected general spot market firmness to continue Monday, noting that there will still be a lot of cooling load to go around, July futures had extended Thursday's gains into Friday, and industrial load will be returning from weekend leave.

The marketer said his company was seeing some increase in buying by power generators, but it was nothing to write home about. With PG&E having ended its OFO, he wasn't aware of any major transportation constraints left on the national pipeline grid.

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