Day-ahead power values could climb in the truncated workweek's opening session Tuesday, Dec. 26, as outlooks for generally elevated demand at midweek combine with ongoing gains in natural gas futures trading.
Gaining 6.9 cents ahead of the holiday weekend Dec. 22, NYMEX January 2018 natural gas futures were solidly higher early Wednesday ahead of the opening bell. The contract was last pegged trading 9.4 cents higher at $2.761/MMBtu amid expectations for colder weather in many regions and increased demand.
In step with the ongoing gains in gas futures, next-day natural gas markets are likely to step higher at many hubs, also drawing upside traction from demand-side support in many cases.
On the demand side, most grid operators anticipate rising load as the holiday-shortened workweek unfolds.
In the Northeast, demand in New England is projected to peak at 18,700 MW on Tuesday and 19,120 MW on Wednesday, while load in New York is expected to hit highs at 21,162 MW on Tuesday and 22,427 MW on Wednesday. In the Mid-Atlantic, PJM Western region demand could crest at 62,571 MW on Tuesday and 65,992 MW on Wednesday, while PJM Mid-Atlantic load could top out at 40,223 MW on Tuesday and 42,705 MW on Wednesday.
In the Midwest, demand in PJM AEP region is called to reach 19,613 MW on Tuesday and 21,158 MW on Wednesday, while load in PJM ComEd is forecast to see highs 14,599 MW on Tuesday and 14,714 MW on Wednesday.
In the South, Texas demand is expected to touch a high near 44,360 MW on Tuesday and 48,245 MW on Wednesday. In the West, demand in California should near 29,800 MW on Tuesday and 28,840 MW on Wednesday.
In term action, January 2018 power had a predominantly strong showing Dec. 22, as advancing front-month natural gas futures implied a boost in fueling costs.
In the East, trading for January 2018 power delivery was about 90 cents higher day on day in the high $70s in New England and up roughly 10 cents in the low $40s at PJM West. Along the forward curve, power deals for February 2018 ran through the mid- to high $70s in New England and high $30s to the low $40s at PJM West.
In the Midwest, prompt-month power changed hands in the $30s in transactions about 10 cents stronger on the day at PJM AD but off 10 cents at both PJM Northern Illinois and MISO Indiana. February 2018 power was marked in the low to mid-$30s overall.
In the South, 20-cent gains at the ERCOT markets took pricing for January 2018 power to the low to high $20s. Regional price activity for February 2018 power likewise spanned the low to high $20s.
In the West, California saw January 2018 power values climb by around 30 cents to the high $30s at North Path-15 and ascend by nearly $1 to the low $40s at South Path-15. Month-ahead power prices were bolstered by about 10 cents at Mid-Columbia and lifted by roughly 70 cents at Palo Verde to the high $20s at both hubs. Pricing for February 2018 power was spotted in the low to mid-$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.