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US power markets start fresh workweek unsupported

A dearth of fundamental support due to mixed to lower load forecasts and declining spot natural gas prices sent most power markets across the country tumbling Monday, Jan. 30.

Losses marked the debut of the front-month March natural gas futures contract as it closed the session down by 12.6 cents to settle at $3.232/MMBtu. Likewise, spot natural gas markets favored the downside.

The National Weather Service said "another weather system in the northwest U.S. will bring 1 to 2 feet of snow to the northern Rockies though midweek."

East dailies kick off workweek with losses

A fall in regional spot natural gas prices and mixed demand forecasts worked to push next-day markets in the East lower on Monday.

Next-day deals at NEPOOL-Mass were heard in the mid- to high $40s, down from a Jan. 27 index of $51.75, while trades at PJM West were seen in the low $30s, falling from a Jan. 27 index of $38.85.

Owing to rebounding weekday demand, day-ahead markets recovered with most locations in the Northeast trading around $9 to $11 higher from Jan. 27 and averaging $45.81 at NEPOOL-Mass, $33.82 at New York Zone A, $45.17 at New York Zone G and $45.46 at New York Zone J.

Load is expected to diverge in the Northeast and mid-Atlantic. Demand in New England may reach highs of 17,600 MW on Monday and 17,780 MW on Tuesday, while load in New York should crest at 21,492 MW on Monday and 21,197 MW the following day.

Peak demand in the PJM Mid-Atlantic region could hit 39,398 MW on Monday and 39,533 MW on Tuesday, while load in the PJM Western region should top out at 59,225 MW on Monday and 57,218 MW on Tuesday.

Fundamental weakness pressures Midwest values lower

Power markets in the Midwest floundered Monday as dailies were unsupported by expectations of subdued Tuesday demand and falling spot natural gas prices. Most of the session's action was seen at MISO Indiana, where on-peak power packages were exchanged in the high $30s, down from a Jan. 27 index of $44.00.

Demand in the Midwest is expected to fall with the PJM AEP region forecasting highs of 18,757 MW on Monday and 18,201 MW on Tuesday, while the PJM ComEd region may see load top out at 13,551 MW on Monday and 13,314 MW on Tuesday.

Texas dailies retreat amid lack of fundamental backing

Trading activity in Texas was oriented to the downside Monday as market participants looked towards slack Tuesday load forecasts and tumbling spot natural gas prices.

Load in Texas may run up to 42,132 MW on Monday and 39,205 MW on Tuesday.

ERCOT North saw next-day transactions shedding more than a dollar from Jan. 27.

Day-ahead markets also leaned flat to lower to due demand forecasts. Losses of more than $2 were noted for ERCOT North and ERCOT West, which averaged $23.17 and $23.35, respectively, while ERCOT South trades eased close to $1 and averaged $24.97. DAMs at ERCOT Houston were little changed from Jan. 27 and averaged $26.33.

Western power markets biased lower with sagging gas prices

On-peak power prices in the West leaned mixed to predominantly lower Monday as sagging gas prices countered outlooks calling for elevated Tuesday demand.

Biased lower moves were noted in the Southwest, with Mead transactions slipping by about a dollar in the mid-$20s while Palo Verde packages eased in the mid-$20s as well. Losses of less than a dollar were seen in the Northwest, with Mid-Columbia deals done in the high $20s to low $30s while COB trades spanned the low to mid-$30s. Hubs in California also leaned flat to lower. Power at South Path-15 shed more than $1 from Jan. 27 in the low $30s, while heavy-load transactions at North Path-15 were steady to Jan. 27 and ranged in the mid-$30s.

Demand in California is poised to touch highs of 29,332 MW on Monday and 29,943 MW on Tuesday.

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.