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US power markets kick off fresh workweek varied

U.S. next-day power markets moved mixed in the week's opening session Monday, Jan. 23, amid soft demand forecasts and varied spot natural gas prices.

In the gas futures arena, modest gains were noted as the front-month February contract closed the session up 3.9 cents at $3.243/MMBtu. At spot gas markets, prices at most locations moved in different directions.

The Weather Company said in its latest monthly forecast that from February through April, warmer-than-usual weather is eyed for the southern U.S., the Ohio Valley and mid-Atlantic, with below-normal temperatures anticipated in the Northwest and areas of the Northeast.

West power markets biased higher despite slack load outlooks

Power prices in the West kept on the positive side of the ledger Monday as mixed to predominantly higher spot gas prices countered expectations for tumbling Tuesday demand.

In the Southwest, power deals at Palo Verde and Mead added around a dollar from Jan. 20 and were done in the high $20s and low $30s, respectively. In California, trades at North Path-15 were up less than $1 in the high $30s, while transactions at South Path-15 gained around a dollar and ranged in the high $30s as well. Northwest dailies were mixed but little changed overall with Mid-Columbia easing in the low $30s while COB transactions were steady to Jan. 20 in the low $30s as well.

The California ISO is expecting demand to post highs of 31,261 MW on Monday and 30,824 MW on Tuesday.

Midwest markets firm amid dueling fundamentals

Power markets in the Midwest saw little change Monday and traders took into account choppy Tuesday load forecasts and soft spot gas prices. MISO Indiana saw most of the session's action with power prices ranging in the mid-$30s, near unchanged from Jan. 20.

Grid operators forecast subdued demand. Load in the PJM AEP region could hit highs of 16,137 MW on Monday and 16,001 MW on Tuesday, while demand in the PJM ComEd region should near peaks of 12,764 MW on Monday and 12,911 MW on Tuesday.

East dailies open week pressured by demand

Falling Tuesday load forecasts pushed power prices in the East lower Monday but with higher spot gas prices offering support to values.

At the next-day markets, power deals at NEPOOL-Mass shed more than a dollar in the low $30s, while trades at PJM West were done in the high $20s to low $30s, down from a Jan. 20 index of $35.00.

Day-ahead markets ran counter to load forecasts with prices at most locations adding more than $5 from Jan. 20 to averages of $36.08 at NEPOOL-Mass, $33.27 at New York Zone A, $37.72 at New York Zone G and $38.31 at New York Zone J.

Load in the Northeast and mid-Atlantic could fall at the start of the new workweek. Peak demand in New England could touch 17,800 MW on Monday and 17,380 MW on Tuesday, while load in New York may reach highs of 20,415 MW on Monday and 20,285 MW on Tuesday. Demand in the PJM Mid-Atlantic region could crest at 38,688 MW on Monday and 37,704 MW on Tuesday, while load in the PJM Western region should peak at 53,791 MW on Monday and 53,742 MW on Tuesday.

Texas values slip on sagging gas prices

Downward pressures from flat to lower spot gas prices fueled next-day power value losses in Texas on Monday but with outlooks for elevated Tuesday demand providing support.

Next-day deals at ERCOT North spanned the low $20s, dropping roughly $5 from Jan. 20.

Regional day-ahead markets, on the other hand, were biased higher. Gains of about $4 were noted at ERCOT Houston, which averaged $28.94, while power prices at ERCOT South increased by about a dollar and averaged $23.09. Deals at ERCOT North were little changed from Jan. 20 and averaged $19.95, while trades at ERCOT West defied the trend and shed around a dollar to average $16.50.

The ERCOT grid operator is calling for load to run up to 39,883 MW on Monday and 40,211 MW on Tuesday.

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, natural gas and coal index prices, as well as forwards and futures, visit our Commodities Pages.