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US power markets supported by gas despite slack demand

Next-day power packages in the U.S. took a few steps back Thursday, Aug. 10, led lower by outlooks calling for subdued Friday demand but finding some support through higher spot gas prices.

Following reports of a less-than-expected 28-Bcf net injection during the week ended Aug. 4, the front-month September contract closed the session with an impressive 10.2-cent gain at $2.985/MMBtu.

Despite the loss of Dominion Energy Inc.'s Surry 1 reactor in Virginia, total U.S. nuclear plant availability increased to 96.67% early Aug. 10.

East dailies ease with load forecasts

Power packages in the East responded to subdued load forecasts with losses Thursday but with some locations supported by higher gas prices.

At the New England Mass hub, next-day deals slipped by around $3 and were done in the mid-$20s, while PJM West trades eased slightly and changed hands in the high $30s.

Day-ahead markets fared no better, with New York Zone A falling by about $10 and averaging $26.39 while the Mass hub, New York Zone G and New York Zone J shed $3 to $4 and averaged $25.82, $25.52 and $27.11, respectively.

Grid operators are projecting lower demand on the final day of the workweek. New England load is called to reach 19,300 MW on Thursday and 17,720 MW on Friday, while New York demand may touch 23,812 MW on Thursday and 22,315 MW on Friday. Demand in the PJM Mid-Atlantic region should near 42,432 MW on Thursday and 40,203 MW on Friday, while the PJM Western region could see demand hit highs of 61,906 MW on Thursday and 60,027 MW on Friday.

West dailies tumble in revised trade

Low Saturday demand included in the next-day schedule revisions countered higher gas prices and projections for rising Friday demand and helped pull down power transactions in the West on Thursday.

In the Southwest, power prices at Palo Verde fell roughly $8 in the low $30s. In the Northwest, Mid-Columbia and the California-Oregon Border saw deals tumble $9 to $10 from the midweek and range in the mid- to high $20s at the former and the mid-$30s at the latter.

The California ISO is expecting demand to run up to 40,189 MW on Thursday and 40,732 MW on Friday.

Texas prices move higher with fundamental support

Robust load forecasts and a rise in regional spot gas prices helped to fuel day-ahead gains in Texas on Thursday.

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas is forecasting peaks of 67,688 MW on Thursday and 68,221 MW on Friday. Inspired by demand, gains of $5 to $6 were posted at ERCOT Houston, ERCOT North, ERCOT South and ERCOT West with day-ahead trades averaging $41.77, $38.31, $40.08 and $38.31, respectively.

Midwest markets flounder on mixed demand, kept afloat by gas

Mixed load forecasts pulled down day-ahead markets in the Midwest on Thursday but with values supported by an increase in regional spot gas prices.

Day-ahead trades at PJM AEP-Dayton and PJM Northern Illinois slipped by about $2 and averaged $29.63 and $34.62, respectively.

The region should see mixed demand for the last day of the workweek. Load in the PJM AEP region may top out at 17,974 MW on Thursday and 17,976 MW on Friday, while demand in the PJM ComEd region should crest at 16,429 MW on Thursday and 14,883 MW on Friday.

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.