Editor's Note: Please be advised that S&P Global Market Intelligence will no longer publish daily articles on price trends in the U.S. natural gas, electricity and emissions markets beginning June 1, 2018. Pricing data for these energy markets will continue to be available on the Market Intelligence platform.
Despite calls for mostly elevated Thursday demand, next-day power markets across the U.S. sagged Wednesday, May 16.
A lack of fundamental support continued to bog down the front-month June natural gas futures contract, which closed the day down 2.1 cents at $2.815/MMBtu.
In other supply, total U.S. nuclear plant availability rose to 91.46% early May 16 following increased output at two reactors.
Texas day-ahead markets tumble despite lingering high load
After notching substantial gains the day prior, day-ahead markets in the Electric Reliability Council of Texas sank Wednesday but with a backdrop of support from strong demand outlooks.
ERCOT projects load to run up to 60,773 MW on Wednesday and 64,214 MW on Thursday.
Losses ranging from $70 to $80 were noted across day-ahead markets, with ERCOT Houston, ERCOT North, ERCOT South and ERCOT West posting averages of $49.45, $59.44, $48.72 and $40.72, respectively.
East values defy load outlooks, swing lower
Projections for mostly higher Thursday demand were left unheard Wednesday as next-day power markets in the region embraced the downside.
At next-day markets, power prices at PJM West fell roughly $5 and ranged in the low to mid-$30s, while deals at the New England Mass hub posted losses of less than $1 with packages spanning the mid-$20s.
However, day-ahead markets favored the upside, with the Mass hub, New York Zone A, Zone G and Zone J adding $1 to $2 on the session and averaging $26.98, $30.94, $33.95 and $34.48, respectively.
Demand in the Northeast is set to rise. Load in New England may reach 13,800 MW on Wednesday and 14,240 MW on Thursday, while demand in New York should touch 17,467 MW on Wednesday and 18,147 MW on Thursday.
The grid operator in the mid-Atlantic is projecting varied load toward the latter part of the workweek. Demand in the PJM Mid-Atlantic region should top out at 32,892 MW on Wednesday and 31,250 MW on Thursday, while demand in the PJM Western region could crest at 51,371 MW on Wednesday and 51,957 MW on Thursday.
Midwest dailies ease despite load support
Values in the Midwest ticked lower Wednesday despite forecasts for strong Thursday demand. MISO Indiana saw the bulk of Wednesday's activity with power deals quoted in the high $30s to low $40s, down almost $3 from Tuesday.
In terms of demand, load in the PJM AEP region should reach highs of 15,439 MW on Wednesday and 16,456 MW on Thursday, while load in the PJM ComEd region could hit peaks of 12,183 MW on Wednesday and 12,303 MW on Thursday.
Western power markets tumble at midweek
Firm load forecasts failed to provide hubs in the West with much support Wednesday.
The California ISO is expecting demand to hit highs of 27,976 MW on Wednesday and 28,183 MW on Thursday. However, on-peak power prices at South Path-15 still slipped by about $2 and were pegged in the high teens to low $20s.
Deals in the Northwest stumbled by $3 to $4 on the session with on-peak prices seen in the single digits at Mid-Columbia and the mid-teens at the California-Oregon Border hub.
Markets in the Southwest leaned flat to ultimately lower with Palo Verde packages easing in the high teens while on-peak deals at Mead slipped by roughly $2 and were quoted in the high teen to low $20s.
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.