Day-ahead power prices could be weighed down Thursday, Oct. 5, by predominantly slack demand forecasts for the close of the workweek, as natural gas futures attempt to extend recent gains.
Ending the prior trading day 4.5 cents higher, November natural gas futures were little changed early Thursday ahead of the opening bell. At 6:30 a.m. ET, the front-month contract was down just 0.2 cent to trade near $2.939/MMBtu in front of the midmorning release of the latest round of weekly storage data.
The report to be released by the U.S Energy Information Administration is expected to detail an average 51-Bcf injection for the week ended Sept. 29. The figure will compare to the respective year-ago and five-year average injections of 76 Bcf and 91 Bcf.
In terms of demand, outlooks call for diminished load across the bulk of the country at the close of the workweek, when business-related demand typically tapers off approaching the weekend.
In the Northeast, demand in New England could see highs at 15,850 MW on Thursday and 14,700 MW on Friday, while New York load should near 19,466 MW on Thursday and 18,468 MW on Friday. To the south, PJM Western region demand will likely crest at 52,741 MW on Thursday and 52,181 MW on Friday, while load in PJM Mid-Atlantic could peak at 35,326 MW on Thursday and 35,061 MW at the end of the business week.
In the Midwest, PJM AEP region load is called to reach 16,791 MW on Thursday and 16,651 MW on Friday, while demand in PJM ComEd is poised to defy the broad decline as it is seen hitting highs at 11,773 MW on Thursday and 12,054 MW at the close of the workweek.
In the South, demand in Texas is projected to top out at 54,841 MW on Thursday and 54,518 MW on Friday.
In the West, California demand could reach highs at 31,100 MW on Thursday and 32,000 MW on Friday, as participants book altered, partly-weekend trading parcels for the typically lower demand days of Friday-Saturday.
Along the forward curve, power prices for November were flat to higher at midweek, as front-month natural gas futures rose on the session to ultimately signal increased fueling costs.
In the East, the power offering for November delivery tacked on around $1 in deals carried out at almost $35 in New England and approximately $33 at PJM West. Looking ahead, December power was transacted in the high $50s in New England and in the high $30s at PJM West.
In the Midwest, PJM AD November added roughly 60 cents to average atop $33, as PJM Northern Illinois November and MISO Indiana November climbed by 15 cents to indexes near $30 and $34, respectively. Farther along the forward curve, power for December delivery was marked in the low to high $30s overall.
In the South, pricing for month-ahead power at the ERCOT markets was lifted by about 10 cents to 30 cents to indexes between $20 and $30. Regional price activity for December power spanned the low to high $20s.
In the West, California saw prompt-month power trades held near unchanged at an index close to $38 at North Path-15 but advanced by almost 10 cents to average atop $35 at South Path-15, as similar transactions ascended by roughly 60 cents to an index above $24 at Mid-Columbia and rose by around 20 cents to average near $26 at Palo Verde. Power deals for December were done in the high $30s in California and in the high $20s to the low $30s 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.