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AM Power Report: Dailies could be split between rising demand, recoiling gas

Power dailies could have a mixed showing Wednesday, Dec. 28, as mostly stronger demand expectations for the latter part of the workweek run counter to weakness at the natural gas futures arena.

At last glance, the January 2017 natural gas futures contract was down 4 cents at $3.721/MMBtu, turning lower in its final session as the front-month contract after touching a new two-year high in the previous session.

On the demand side, load forecasts for the latter part of the workweek are predominantly aimed higher.

In the Northeast, demand in New England is projected to peak at 17,400 MW on Wednesday and 17,500 MW on Thursday, while load in New York is expected to reach highs at 20,982 MW on Wednesday and 21,042 MW on Thursday. In the Mid-Atlantic, PJM Western region demand is forecast to hit highs at 53,342 MW on Wednesday and 56,315 MW in the latter part of the business week, while PJM Mid-Atlantic load is seen cresting at 36,401 MW on Wednesday and 37,571 MW on Thursday.

In the Midwest, demand in the PJM AEP region is called to reach 16,040 MW on Wednesday and 17,158 MW on Thursday, while load in PJM ComEd is projected to top out at 12,663 MW on Wednesday and 13,184 MW in the latter part of the workweek.

In the South, ERCOT load is forecast to touch a high near 41,148 MW on Wednesday and 40,328 MW on Thursday, running against the dominant uptrend.

In the West, CAISO demand is poised to see highs at 28,995 MW on Wednesday and 28,471 MW on Thursday.

In forward trade, power values for January 2017 predominantly advanced at the start of the truncated workweek Tuesday, as gains at the natural gas futures complex drove fueling costs higher.

In the East, front-month power transactions added almost $3 to average above $88 at NEPOOL-Mass but deflated by about 50 cents against the dominant uptrend to an index atop $52 at PJM West. Further along the forward curve, power deals for February 2017 were similarly carried out in the high $80s in New England and in the low $50s at PJM West.

In the Midwest, price activity for January 2017 at the PJM markets also defied the wider uptick by shedding roughly 20 cents to average at $47 at the AD hub and giving back about 10 cents to average near $45 at the Northern Illinois hub, while MISO Indiana January 2017 pricing joined the broad advance by rising almost $2 to an index at about $49. Looking ahead, power values for February 2017 were spread in the low to high $40s.

In the South, the ERCOT markets saw prompt-month power prices climb almost 70 cents across the board to indexes ranging roughly from $33 to $35, while regional pricing for February 2017 power ran through the low $30s.

In the West, trades for January 2017 power in California tacked on more than $2 to average about $44 at North Path-15 and above $41 at South Path-15, while similar deals were lifted by more than $3 to an index atop $36 at Mid-Columbia and bolstered by roughly 80 cents to an index near $32 at Palo Verde. Further out, power transactions for February 2017 were done in the high $30s to the low $40s in California and in the low $30s elsewhere in the region.

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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.