Power dailies could end the workweek on a mixed tenor Friday, Jan. 20, as forecasts for generally rising demand coming off the weekend run against renewed losses at the natural gas futures complex.
Gaining 6.6 cents in the previous session, February natural gas futures were aimed lower in the overnight session early Friday. At last look, the contract was down 8.5 cents to $3.283/MMBtu on profit-taking and fresh selling ahead of the weekend break.
With the recent seesaw action in futures, day-ahead natural gas markets could see varied to weaker moves Friday, with the inclusion of the lower-load weekend days in the trading product offering the typical downside pressure on values.
On the demand side, most grid operators anticipate stronger load to start the next workweek Jan. 23, as business-related demand typically rebounds coming off the weekend break.
In the Northeast, load in New England is expected to hit highs at 16,550 MW on Friday and 17,700 MW on Jan. 23, while New York demand is called to reach 19,646 MW on Friday and 20,404 MW on Jan. 23. In the Mid-Atlantic, load in PJM Western region is seen cresting at 50,611 MW on Friday and 53,209 MW on Jan. 23, while demand in PJM Mid-Atlantic is set to defy the broad uptrend as it is projected to peak at 36,008 MW on Friday and 35,060 MW on Jan. 23.
In the Midwest, PJM AEP region load is also poised to run against the dominant uptick as it is expected to reach highs at 16,009 MW on Friday and 15,817 MW at the return of the business week, while PJM ComEd demand is forecast to see highs at 12,475 MW on Friday and 12,866 MW on Jan. 23.
In the South, the ERCOT operator expects load to touch a high near 37,260 MW on Friday and 40,031 MW on Jan. 23.
In the West, demand in CAISO is forecast to top out at 23,350 MW on Friday and 29,600 MW on Saturday, but should find some upside support Jan. 23, as full industrial and commercial load recovers at the start of the new business week.
In term trading, price activity for February power was choppy Jan. 19, as changing weather in midrange forecasts that should drive demand in varied directions combined with the recent volatility at the natural gas futures arena that implied fluctuating fueling costs.
In the East, trades for prompt-month power deflated by almost $4 to an index at above $62 at NEPOOL-Mass but added over $1 to average atop $43 at PJM West, while power transactions for delivery in March were carried out in the high $40s in New England and at PJM West.
In the Midwest, power values for February advanced by more than $1 to an index near $40 at PJM AD and rose by about $2 to an average atop $38 at PJM Northern Illinois, but recoiled by about 30 cents to an index at $42 at MISO Indiana. Along the forward curve, price action for March power was spotted in the high $30s overall.
In the South, front-month power pricing was flat at an average at $33 at ERCOT Houston but off by between 40 cents and 50 cents at indexes ranging from $28 to $30 at the rest of the ERCOT markets. Looking ahead, regional price activity for March power likewise spanned the high $20s to the low $30s.
In the West, power trades for February added more than $1 in California to average near $36 at North Path-15 and close to $34 at South Path-15, as similar transactions rose by nearly 50 cents to an index above $27 at Mid-Columbia and climbed by about 70 cents to an index at almost $27 at Palo Verde. Power deals for March were done in the high $20s to the low $30s in California and in the low $20s elsewhere in the region.
Market prices and included industry data are current as of the time of publication and are subject to change. For more detailed market data, including power and natural gas index prices, as well as forwards and futures, visit our Commodities Pages.