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Texas, Midwest power prices climb; values tumble in East

Next-daypower markets were pointed in mixed directions around the United States duringthe Wednesday, April 6, session, as traders looked to mostly softer demandoutlooks and weakness in natural gas.

Losing4.4 cents in the prior session, May natural gas futures extended lowerWednesday on profit taking, setting the day at $1.911/MMBtu, down 4.3 centsamid the impending arrival of spring weather against a backdrop of very amplesupply.

Withthe recent retreat in futures, spot natural gas prices worked lower at majorconsuming hubs in the midweek session, which served to press on some powermarket values.

Onthe nuclear supplyside, total U.S. nuclear plant availability stepped higher early April 6 to87.82%, up from 87.38% on April 5 and still above the 85.00% recorded on thesame day last year.

ERCOT power prices advancewith stronger demand outlook

Powerprices in Texas climbed a few dollars Wednesday, with a stronger load pictureoffsetting losses for regional gas markets.

Next-daypower parcels at ERCOT North were pegged in the high $20s, increasing almost $4on the session. Day-ahead markets in Texas lost $4 to $6 on average, coming inat $27.21 at ERCOT South, $27.25 at ERCOT North, $26.37 at ERCOT West and$27.48 at ERCOT Houston.

Despitegains in regional power prices, natural gas markets in the South-Central U.S.eased. Spot business at the benchmark Henry Hub posted an index atop$1.85/MMBtu, down 5 cents. El Paso Permian gas saw an average above$1.70/MMBtu, easing 2 cents.

Loadin Texas is called to reach a high of 42,850 MW on Thursday, increasing almost3,000 MW from Wednesday, according to the ERCOT grid operator.

Midwest power values edgehigher in thin trading

Next-daypower markets in the Midwest edged higher at midweek in thin trade, as themarket shrugged off weaker gas prices and a softer demand projection.

Powerat MISO Indiana was transacted in the upper $20s, gaining about $1 from thesession prior.

Naturalgas prices in the central U.S. slipped at midweek. Deals at Chicago Citygatescame in at an index near $1.90/MMBtu, down 2 cents, while product at NNG Demarcsaw an average right around $1.90/MMBtu, easing 1 cent.

Demandin the PJM AEP region is seen hitting a high at 15,650 MW on Thursday,decreasing 1,200 MW from midweek, with load in the PJM ComEd region likely totop out at 11,450 MW on Thursday, down about 300 MW from the day prior.

West Coast power market movedmixed at midweek

WestCoast power prices were choppy Wednesday, with losses supported by weakerdemand outlooks and losses for regional gas markets.

InCalifornia, heavy-load deals at South Path-15 were inked in the upper teens tolow $20s, losing $3 or so on the day. However, heavy-load power parcels atNorth Path-15 were transacted in the mid-$20s, up about $1.

CaliforniaISO load is seen peaking at 28,500 MW on Thursday, falling 1,400 MW fromWednesday.

Inthe Northwest, deals for heavy-load delivery at COB were eyed in the upperteens, drooping about 25 cents on the day. Heavy-load business at Mid-Columbiawas priced in the mid-teens, rising about $1 on the session.

Atthe Southwest markets, heavy-load parcels at Palo Verde were reported in theupper teens, down 50 cents or so. Heavy-load deals at Mead ran in the upperteens to low $20s, for a daily gain of 50 cents.

WestCoast gas markets shifted lower at midweek, offering some pressure at variousregional power markets. Product at PG&E Citygates notched an index at$1.90/MMBtu, down 2 cents on the day. To the south, gas at the SoCal Borderposted an average at about $1.75/MMBtu, easing about 4 cents.

Northeast power prices tumblewith softer demand outlooks

Powermarkets in the East crumbled Wednesday, with weaker load forecasts and lossesfor regional gas prices offering pressure.

AtNEPOOL-Mass in New England, on-peak power was priced in the mid-$30s, losingmore than $10 on the session. Deals at PJM West in the Mid-Atlantic werereported in the high $20s, retreating several dollars from the low $30s the daybefore.

DAMpower prices in the Northeast fumbled lower, unwinding more than $22 atNEPOOL-Mass to average $28.18. DAMs at the New York markets eased $7 to $8,coming in at $30.08 at Zone G, $30.97 at Zone J and $34.58 at Zone A.

NewYork demand is seen reaching a high at 18,700 MW on Thursday, down 1,250 MWfrom Wednesday. Load in New England is likely to crest at 15,100 MW onThursday, dropping 1,200 MW from midweek.

Inthe Mid-Atlantic, demand in the PJM Mid-Atlantic region is anticipated to reach31,150 MW on Thursday, easing 4,600 MW on the day, with load in the PJM Westernregion likely to hit 48,700 MW on Thursday, down 3,250 MW from Wednesday.

Naturalgas markets in the Northeast fell Wednesday, which tugged on power values. Gasdeals at the Algonquin Citygates near Boston posted an index right around$2.45/MMBtu, crumbling more than $2.00/MMBtu. Gas prices at Transco Zone 6 NewYork were down 15 cents to average near $1.85/MMBtu. In the Mid-Atlantic,product at TETCO-M3 notched an index around $1.55/MMBtu, faltering 2 cents.

Market prices and includedindustry data are current as of the time of publication and are subject tochange. For more detailed market data, including power,naturalgas and coalindex prices, as well as forwardsand futures,visit our Commodities Pages.