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AM Power Report: Dailies could follow load outlooks lower

Day-ahead power values could falter Wednesday, Oct. 11, in line with mostly declining demand expectations for the latter part of the workweek.

However, recent gains in natural gas futures could offer power markets upside traction in some cases at midweek. Rising 5.8 cents in the prior session on short covering, NYMEX November natural gas futures were extending those gains overnight early Wednesday, tacking on 4.2 cents to trade near $2.933/MMBtu at 6:30 a.m. ET.

In line with the ongoing advance in futures, day-ahead natural gas prices are likely to climb in value at many major consuming hubs during the midweek session.

On the demand side, load outlooks for the latter part of the workweek are predominantly aimed lower.

In the Northeast, demand in New England could hit highs at 15,300 MW on Wednesday and 14,610 MW on Thursday, while load in New York could top out at 19,469 MW on Wednesday and 18,455 MW on Thursday. In the Mid-Atlantic, PJM Western region demand could crest at 48,791 MW on Wednesday and 47,828 MW in the latter part of the business week, while PJM Mid-Atlantic load could see highs at 33,549 MW on Wednesday and 31,491 MW on Thursday.

In the Midwest, demand in the PJM AEP region is expected to peak at 15,509 MW on Wednesday and 15,027 MW on Thursday, while load in PJM ComEd is forecast to reach highs at 11,407 MW on Wednesday and 11,333 MW on Thursday.

In the South, Texas load should near 43,278 MW on Wednesday and 51,357 MW in the latter part of the workweek, running against the dominant downtrend. In the West, California demand is called to reach 29,600 MW on Wednesday and 29,065 MW on Thursday.

Along the forward curve, power prices for November were varied but mostly higher Oct. 10, as advancing front-month natural gas futures signaled increasing fueling costs.

In the East, trading activity for November power was almost unchanged day on day at an index near $35 in New England and up about 70 cents at an average at roughly $33 at PJM West. Farther out, power transactions for December were done in the mid-$50s in New England and in the high $30s at PJM West.

In the Midwest, month-ahead power values rose by 90 cents to an index at around $33 at PJM AD and climbed by almost 40 cents to an average near $31 at PJM Northern Illinois, as MISO Indiana prompt-month pricing ascended by 50 cents to an index above $34. Along the forward curve, power prices for December spanned the low to high $30s overall.

In the South, November power at the ERCOT markets shed 10 cents to 20 cents in transactions averaging from atop $20 to around $29. December power across the region was likewise marked in the low to high $20s.

In the West, trades for front-month power added around 70 cents in California to average atop $38 at North Path-15 and almost $36 at South Path-15, while similar deals were bolstered by 70 cents to an index above $25 at Mid-Columbia and lifted by roughly $1 to an index atop $27 at Palo Verde. Power trades for December were carried out in the high $30s in California and in the high $20s to the low $30s elsewhere in the region.

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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.