Wholesale revenues in the third quarter of 2012 were $19 million, a decrease of 21%, from $24 million for the third quarter of 2011. Lower wholesale revenues were due to a 22% decrease in average price and a 1% decrease in sales volume. Lower wholesale power prices were driven by low natural gas prices.
Purchased power and fuel expense for the third quarter of 2012 was comparable with the third quarter of 2011. Declines in energy received from hydro and wind resources led to a 1% increase in average variable power cost, which was offset by a 1% decrease in total retail load requirement. The average variable power cost increased to $33.89 per megawatt hour in the third quarter of 2012 compared with $33.49 per megawatt hour in the third quarter of 2011.
Energy received from hydroelectric resources, including that purchased from mid-Columbia projects, in the third quarter of 2012 decreased 32% from the third quarter of 2011. This was 14% above the levels projected in PGE’s 2012 Annual Power Cost Update Tariff (AUT) for the current quarter, compared with 16% above the levels projected in the 2011 AUT for the third quarter of 2011. Energy received from the Company’s Biglow Canyon Wind Farm decreased 10%, from less favorable wind conditions during the third quarter of 2012 relative to the third quarter of 2011.
For the three and nine month periods ended September 30, 2012, actual net variable power costs (NVPC) were approximately $4 million and $14 million, respectively, below baseline NVPC. NVPC for the year ending December 31, 2012 is currently estimated to be within the $15 million lower deadband of the PCAM. Accordingly, no estimated refund to or collection from customers was recorded as of September 30, 2012. For the third quarter of 2011, actual NVPC was approximately $7 million below baseline NVPC, with PGE recording an estimated refund to customers of $4 million.