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US daily power prices fall with load forecasts ahead of weekend

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US daily power prices fall with load forecasts ahead of weekend

Despite cold weather enveloping parts of the U.S., next-day power prices took a few steps back Thursday, Feb. 22, following forecasts for deflated demand.

Looking at natural gas futures, the front-month March contract closed the day down 2.5 cents at $2.634/MMBtu despite reports of a larger-than-expected 124-Bcf net withdrawal during the week ended Feb. 16.

In other supply, total U.S. nuclear plant availability topped the 93% mark early Feb. 22 at 93.24%.

East dailies flounder with demand

Deflated demand forecasts sent power prices in the East tumbling Thursday.

At next-day markets, power prices at the New England Mass hub and PJM West shed $3 to $5 from midweek and ranged in the mid-to-high $20s at the former and the high $20s at the latter.

On the other hand, day-ahead markets in the Northeast diverged. DAMs at the Mass hub and New York Zone A shed $2 to $6 on the session and averaged $25.48 and $22.90, respectively, while DAMs at New York Zone G added about $1 and averaged $29.37. DAMs at New York Zone J notched gains of less than $1 with packages averaging $31.69.

Grid operators are expecting demand to falter as the weekend approaches. Load in New England may crest at 16,400 MW on Thursday and 15,940 MW on Friday, while demand in New York should top out at 19,511 MW on Thursday and 19,061 MW on Friday. The PJM Mid-Atlantic region may near peaks of 35,421 MW on Thursday and 34,447 MW on Friday, while the PJM Western region could post highs of 51,867 MW on Thursday and 49,654 MW on Friday.

Western power markets tumble in revised trade

Typically subdued weekend demand associated with next-day schedule revisions countered cold weather outlooks and worked to pull down power prices in the West on Thursday.

In the Northwest, power prices at Mid-Columbia dropped more than $25 and were pegged in the low-to-mid $20s. In the Southwest, Palo Verde packages fell more than $35 and were quoted in the high $20s to low $30s, while Mead transactions dropped roughly $30 from Wednesday and were priced in the low $30s.

The California ISO is calling for demand to reach 29,589 MW on Thursday and 28,162 MW on Friday.

Midwest values sag with load

Power prices in the Midwest took a few steps back Thursday following forecasts for subdued Friday demand. MISO Indiana saw most of the session's action, with power changing hands in the low $30s, down more than $1 from Wednesday.

Demand is set to fall ahead of the weekend. The PJM AEP region should see load run up to 15,696 MW on Thursday and 15,627 MW on Friday, while demand in the PJM ComEd region may hit peaks of 12,603 MW on Thursday and 12,049 MW on Friday.

Texas power prices shift lower with declining demand outlooks

Projections for slack Friday demand contributed to losses across power markets in Texas on Thursday.

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas is projecting load to touch 47,472 MW on Thursday and 41,698 MW on Friday. Following a lack of load support, next-day deals at ERCOT North fell about $6, with deals spanning the mid-$20s.

Day-ahead markets also took a few steps back. DAM deals tumbled by $5 to $6 on the session and averaged $26.44 at ERCOT Houston and ERCOT North, $25.75 at ERCOT South and $26.55 at ERCOT West.

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.