Most next-day power markets across the country preferred to stay on the positive side of the ledger Friday, Dec. 9, as support from predominantly higher spot gas prices offset expectations of mixed to lower Dec. 12 demand.
Gains continued to define trading activity in the natural gas futures area with the front-month January 2017 contract exiting the workweek up 5.1 cents to settle at $3.746/MMBtu. Likewise, spot natural gas markets, excluding deals done at TETCO-M3 and Transco Zone 6 New York, ticked higher despite typically subdued weekend demand.
According to AccuWeather.com, "around the middle of December, an even colder blast of air will follow this week's frigid conditions over the central and eastern U.S."
West values recover in revised trade
Potentially stronger weekday demand associated with next-day schedule revisions along with higher spot natural gas prices pushed up power dailies in the West on Friday.
Hubs in the Northwest rebounded, with dailies adding about $5 to $7 from Thursday and changing hands in the low $30s to low $40s at Mid-Columbia and the low $40s at COB. In California, power at South Path-15 posted a premium of around $5 and ranged in the low $40s. Gains were $1 to $2 in the Southwest, with Palo Verde and Mead deals spanning the low $30s.
Demand in California may see a Saturday peak at 27,327 MW, down by almost 2,050 MW from Friday but with load possibly recovering by the start of the new workweek on Dec. 12.
East dailies enter weekend jumbled
Power prices in the East moved in different directions Friday, as markets reflected conflicting signals garnered from mixed load forecasts and lower spot natural gas prices.
Next-day deals at NEPOOL-Mass added about $2 and ranged in the high $70s, while trades at PJM West fell by around $3 to the mid-$30s.
Northeastern day-ahead markets were also jumbled. DAM deals at NEPOOL-Mass and New York Zone A fell by roughly $4 to $6 and averaged $71.64 and $22.63, respectively. On the other hand, DAM trades at New York Zone G and New York Zone J added about $4 to $6 on the session and averaged $58.04 and $57.28, respectively.
Load outlooks in the Northeast are aimed higher. Demand in New England and New York could rise by more than 200 MW from Friday to hit Dec. 12 highs of 18,020 MW and 20,886 MW, respectively.
Conversely, load forecasts in the mid-Atlantic are pointed lower. The PJM Mid-Atlantic region expects to see Dec. 12 demand crest at 37,211 MW, down by more than 1,900 MW from Friday, while load in the PJM Western region should top out at 56,716 MW on Dec. 12, more than 3,200 MW lower from Friday's projected peak.
Demand support eludes Texas dailies at week's end
Sluggish Dec. 12 load outlooks countered a rise in regional spot natural gas prices and fueled losses in Texas on Friday. Next-day trades at ERCOT North were pegged in the high $20s, falling from a Thursday index of $39.75.
DAMs fared no better as deflated weekend demand pressured values. Losses of more than $10 were noted at ERCOT Houston, ERCOT North, ERCOT South and ERCOT West, which averaged $27.86, $27.56, $28.60 and $26.80, respectively.
Peak Dec. 12 demand in Texas may reach 39,771 MW, falling by more than 11,300 MW from Friday's forecast high.
Midwest markets exit workweek supported by gas, anchored by demand
Hubs in the Midwest were pressured Friday by expectations of deflated Dec. 12 demand but supported by rising regional spot natural gas prices.
PJM regions in the Midwest anticipate a slow start to the new workweek. Demand in the PJM AEP region could fall by more than 1,900 MW from Friday to near a Dec. 12 high of 17,501 MW. Load in the PJM ComEd region may touch a Dec. 12 peak at 13,499 MW, shedding little more than 70 MW from Friday.
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, natural gas and coal index prices, as well as forwards and futures, visit our Commodities Pages.