Price action for power dailies could be choppy in the week's closing session Friday, Dec. 23, as fluctuating demand forecasts through and coming off the Christmas Day holiday combine with the recent volatility in natural gas. Deals may be covered in a variety of revised packages Friday since the markets will be closed Dec. 26 for the Christmas holiday.
Losing 0.4 cent in the prior session, January 2017 natural gas futures were up slightly early Friday ahead of the opening bell to $3.559/MMBtu. The contract was up on short-covering in very thin trading ahead of the extended holiday weekend.
In front of the holiday weekend, next-day gas markets are likely to be subdued themselves Friday, but could see gains and losses as well, amid scattered regional weather support.
On the demand side, grid operators anticipate predominantly weaker load amid diminished business-related demand during the observance of the Christmas Day holiday on Dec. 26, but generally stronger load at the start of the truncated workweek on Dec. 27 as full industrial and commercial load typically rebounds coming off the weekend. Overall, demand at the return of the workweek is generally expected to exceed levels seen ahead of the holiday.
In the Northeast, load in New England is expected to see highs at 17,000 MW on Friday and 15,750 MW on Dec. 26 before rebounding to 17,270 MW on Dec. 27, while New York demand is poised to top out at 19,572 MW on Friday and 21,628 MW on Dec. 26 before recoiling to 21,342 MW on Dec. 27.
In the Mid-Atlantic, load in PJM Western region is seen cresting at 55,129 MW on Friday and 52,476 MW on Dec. 26 ahead of a recovery to 56,570 MW on Dec. 27, while demand in PJM Mid-Atlantic could steadily decline as it is projected to touch a high near 36,227 MW on Friday, 35,862 MW on Dec. 26 and 35,007 MW on Dec. 27.
In the Midwest, the PJM Interconnection operator sees PJM AEP region load peaking at 17,795 MW on Friday and 15,622 MW on Dec. 26 before retracing higher to 16,763 MW on Dec. 27, while PJM ComEd demand is seen hitting highs at 13,198 MW on Friday and 13,096 MW on Dec. 26 before rebounding to 13,972 MW on Dec. 27.
In the South, ERCOT load should near 39,792 MW on Friday and 39,723 MW on Dec. 26 ahead of a recovery to 39,904 MW on Dec. 27.
In the West, demand in CAISO is called to reach 29,373 MW on Friday and 27,561 MW on Dec. 24, but could remain deflated during the observance of the Christmas Day holiday on Dec. 26 before rebounding at the return of the workweek on Dec. 27 as business-related load recovers.
In forward trade, price action for January 2017 power was predominantly flat to higher Thursday, as front-month natural gas futures notched gains on the session but struggled to hold the upside to ultimately end the day almost unchanged.
In the East, the power offering for January 2017 tacked on about $9 in trades done at near $82 at NEPOOL-Mass and added over $3 in deals carried out at roughly $51 at PJM West. Power for February 2017 delivery was transacted also in the low $80s in New England and in the high $40s at PJM West.
In the Midwest, gains of between $1 and $2 steered prompt-month power pricing to indexes atop $43 at PJM Northern Illinois and at above $45 at both PJM AD and MISO Indiana, while price activity for February 2017 power across the three hubs was spread in the low $40s.
In the South, trading action for January 2017 power at the ERCOT markets was flat overall at indexes ranging roughly from $31 to $33, while power transactions for delivery in February 2017 across the region were similarly assessed in the low $30s.
In the West, California saw power values for January 2017 deflate by almost 90 cents to average at near $40 at North Path-15 but hold flat at an index at roughly $38 at South Path-15, as month-ahead values added 45 cents to average at close to $32 at Mid-Columbia and held steady at an index at about $30 at Palo Verde. Power prices for February 2017 were pegged in the mid- to high $30s in California and in the high $20s elsewhere in the region.
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.