Next-day power prices were mixed at major market centers around the country Friday, March 31, as traders looked to choppy demand forecasts for the start of the following workweek. To accommodate for the start of the new month Saturday, peak power deals were completed for April 2-3 delivery Friday.
Players also looked to the natural gas markets for power pricing direction. Losing 4.0 cents in its first day in the lead position, NYMEX May natural gas futures ended the Friday session little changed, down 0.1-cent at $3.190/MMBtu ahead of the weekend break.
As the futures market largely held its ground Friday, the inclusion of the lower-load weekend days in the gas trading package left next-day natural gas markets varied Friday.
West Coast power markets rise sharply ahead of weekend
With the inclusion of the higher-load weekday in the trading package, power markets across the West climbed in value Friday. At the California markets, on-peak parcels at North Path-15 were inked in the low $20s, increasing $7 to $8.
Demand in California could hit 26,180 MW on Saturday, down 100 MW from Friday before likely rebounding come April 3.
In the Northwest, heavy-load power at Mid-Columbia was inked in the low teens atop $10, increasing $8 on the week. Heavy-load deals at COB were seen in the high teens to low $20s, rising from the low teens previously.
At the Southwestern markets, heavy-load power at Palo Verde was eyed in the low to mid-$20s, gaining about $10, while heavy-load packages at Mead were inked in the upper $20s, climbing about $12 or so on the session.
Northeast power markets ease amid softer demand outlooks
Day-ahead power prices in the Northeast were generally softer ahead of the weekend, with weaker demand expectations working to tug values lower.
Peak power at the NEPOOL-Mass Hub was priced in the low $30s, dropping back from the mid-$30s the day prior. At the PJM Western hub in the Mid-Atlantic, on-peak power was reported in the low to mid-$30s, little changed to 50 cents lower on the day.
Day-ahead markets for Saturday eased in the East, coming in at $40.33 at NEPOOL-Mass, $24.65 at New York's Zone A, $35.61 at Zone G and $36.77 at Zone J.
In the Northeast, demand in New England could hit a high of 15,180 MW on April 3, down about 300 MW from Friday, while load in New York is expected to crest at 18,000 MW on April 3, declining 1,000 MW from Friday.
PJM Western region demand is forecast to peak at 47,300 MW on April 3, down 800 MW from Friday, while PJM Mid-Atlantic load is called to reach 30,600 MW on April 3, dropping 3,100 MW from Friday.
Regional gas prices were mixed heading into the weekend. Gas at Tetco-M3 came in just shy of $2.90/MMBtu, up more than 1 cent.
Most Texas DAMs run higher ahead of weekend
DAM prices at Texas next-day markets were varied but mostly higher Friday, with a weaker demand outlook running counter to stronger spot gas prices.
DAM prices in Texas came in at $22.63 at ERCOT North, $23.13 at ERCOT West, $25.32 at ERCOT South and $48.60 at ERCOT Houston.
Texas demand is expected to reach 44,300 MW on April 3, down 1,000 MW from Friday.
Spot gas at the benchmark at the Henry Hub market in Louisiana ramped about 3 cents higher ahead of the weekend to an index near $3.10/MMBtu.
Midwest power prices prove lackluster at week's end
Next-day power prices in the Midwest were lackluster in very thin trading Friday.
Load in the PJM AEP region should hit 15,000 MW on April 3, up 400 MW from Friday, while demand in the PJM ComEd region may peak at 11,100 MW on April 3, easing 750 MW on Friday.
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.