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East, Midwest power values slide; Texas, West markets firm

Next-day power trading activity across the U.S.chopped around Tuesday, July 19, as some locations were bogged down by acombination of mostly weak load outlooks and mixed to ultimately lower spotnatural gas prices.

At the natural gas futures complex, the front-monthAugust contract gave away most of its early gains but still managed to end the day on thepositive side of the ledger at $2.728/MMBtu, adding a scant 0.6 cent. On theflipside, spot gas markets leaned mixed to predominantly lower.

Texasdailies supported by load outlooks

Projections calling for strong midweek demandcounterbalanced pressure from easing spot gas prices and helped power marketsin Texas notch gains Tuesday.

The ERCOT grid operator is expecting Wednesday load topeak at 67,141 MW, rising by more than 2,400 MW from Tuesday. Bolstered bydemand forecasts, next-day deals at ERCOT North added about a dollar in the low$30s.

Regional day-ahead markets also notched $3 to $4 gainsand averaged $35.56 at ERCOT Houston, $33.57 at ERCOT North, $26.09 at ERCOTSouth and $33.21 at ERCOT West.

Meadeases while other West markets move higher

Power deals for midweek delivery in the West favoredthe upside Tuesday owing to support from robust demand forecasts and firm spotgas prices.

The California ISO is calling for Wednesday demand totop out at 40,080 MW, up around 2,500 MW from Tuesday. Encouraged by load,North Path-15 deals were steady to Monday in the low to mid-$30s while SouthPath-15 trades added about a dollar in the mid- to high $30s. Gains of about $5defined price activity in the Northwest with Mid-Columbia transactions done inthe high $20s and low $30s while COB dailies were exchanged in the low to mid-$30s.

Hubs in the Southwest were varied, with Palo Verdeadding less than a dollar in the mid-$30s and low $40s and with Mead dealsshedding less than a dollar in the high $30s and low $40s.

Slackdemand sends East dailies lower

Forecasts for declining midweek demand pushed powerpackages in the East lower Tuesday with limited support from varied spot gasprices providing little relief.

Trades at NEPOOL-Mass and New York Zone G stumbled byabout $4 to $5 from Monday and ranged in the high $20s to low $30s and low tomid-$30s respectively, while New York Zone A deals were heard in the mid-$30s,down from a July 18 index of $49.00. Transactions at PJM West were able tolimit losses to around a dollar and were seen in the mid-$30s.

Day-ahead markets also floundered with load, with DAMsat New York Zone A losing roughly $15 from Monday to average at $33.95. DAMs atNew York Zone G and New York Zone J dropped about $8 to $10 and averaged $30.87and $32.53, respectively. DAMs at NEPOOL-Mass shed around $5 and averaged$28.35.

Load in the Northeast and mid-Atlantic is set to fall.New England should see Wednesday demand hit 18,870 MW, down 580 MW fromTuesday, while load in New York may crest at 24,514 MW on Wednesday, off byabout 1,000 MW from Tuesday. The PJM Mid-Atlantic region and the PJM Westernregion should see Wednesday demand reach 44,780 MW and 69,906 MW, respectively,with each falling by about 2,000 MW from Tuesday.

Midwestdailies flounder with soft demand, cheap gas

Sluggish midweek load forecasts and lower spot gasprices worked to depress power prices in the Midwest on Tuesday. Power deals atPJM AEP-Dayton and PJM Northern Illinois were both quoted in the mid-$30s, withthe former easing from Monday while the latter tumbled by about $7.

PJM regions expect subdued midweek demand as load inthe PJM AEP region should touch 20,310 MW on Wednesday, down by more than 800MW from Tuesday while the PJM ComEd region is called to see a Wednesday high at18,583 MW, stumbling by more than 500 MW from the day prior.

The Midcontinent Independent System Operator Inc. declareda hot weather alert for the Reliability Coordinator Footprint effective fromJuly 20 at noon ET to July 22 at 10 p.m. ET.

Market prices and included industry data are currentas of the time of publication and are subject to change. For more detailedmarket data, including power,natural gas andcoal index prices, as well asforwards andfutures, visit our Commodities Pages.