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AM Power Report: Dailies could add value in abbreviated workweek's opener

Day-ahead power prices could see mixed to higher moves in the truncated workweek's opening session Tuesday, Feb. 20, as the anticipation of elevated demand in much of the country at midweek combines with fresh gains in natural gas futures trading.

Losing 2.2 cents in the Feb. 16 session, NYMEX March natural gas futures were recovering early Tuesday. At 6:50 a.m. ET on Feb. 20, the contract was up 8.3 cents to $2.641/MMBtu on short covering and fresh buying.

Cash natural gas prices could advance in many cases Tuesday, in step with any sustained gains in futures Tuesday.

On the demand side, load forecasts for Wednesday are mostly biased higher.

In the Northeast, demand in New England is expected to peak at 15,400 MW on Tuesday and 15,200 MW on Wednesday, while load in New York is seen hitting highs at 18,660 MW on Tuesday and 18,686 MW on Wednesday. In the mid-Atlantic, PJM Western region demand should near 48,718 MW on Tuesday and 50,297 MW on Wednesday, while PJM Mid-Atlantic load is called to reach 33,132 MW on Tuesday and 32,043 MW in the middle of the business week.

In the Midwest, demand in the PJM AEP region could touch a high near 14,926 MW on Tuesday and 15,424 MW on Wednesday, while load in PJM ComEd could crest at 11,508 MW on Tuesday and 12,517 MW on Wednesday.

In the South, load in Texas is forecast to reach highs at 39,749 MW on Tuesday and 43,225 MW at midweek. In the West, demand in California could top out at 30,100 MW on Tuesday and 29,300 MW on Wednesday.

In forward trade, March power pricing was steady to lower ahead of the long holiday weekend, as weakness at the natural gas futures arena implied cheaper fueling costs.

In the East, prompt-month power deals were off nearly $4 day on day in the high $30s in New England and down 40 cents in the low $30s at PJM West. Along the forward curve, power transactions for April were assessed in the low $30s at both hubs.

In the Midwest, better-than-$1 losses took price action for March power to the high $20s at PJM Northern Illinois and to the low $30s at both PJM AD and MISO Indiana. Price activity for April power similarly spanned the high $20s to the low $30s.

In the South, March power gave back about 60 cents to 80 cents at the ERCOT hubs in transactions done in the low $20s to the low $30s. Regional trading for April power delivery ran through the mid-$20s into the low $30s.

In the West, California saw front-month power quoted in the high $20s in trades almost 50 cents weaker on the day at North Path-15 and roughly 30 cents softer at South Path-15, while Mid-Columbia March was flat on the day in the high $10s and Palo Verde March was 20 cents lower in the low $20s. April power was marked in the low $10s at Mid-Columbia and in the low to high $20s 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.