Next-day power values in the U.S. favored the positiveside of the ledger Monday, May 2, with gains at most markets encouraged by arise in spot natural gas prices despite varied Tuesday load forecasts.
After postinglosses ahead of the May 2 open, the front-month June natural gasfutures contract extended the downside further and closed the first session ofthe new workweek down 13.6 cents at $2.042/MMBtu.
At spot natural gas markets, gains due to supply-sideconstraints from an April 29 gas pipeline blast in Pennsylvania continued toenvelope most markets with hubs in the Northeast posting sizeable increases.
Total U.S. nuclearplant availability retreated to its lowest level yet this spring at82.06% early May 2, which is below the 83.94% on April 29 and still less thanthe 82.34% reported on the same day a year ago.
According to AccuWeather.com, parts of thenorthwestern U.S. may see "record-challenging warmth" surge into theregion during the first week of May, which may lead to a slight increase incooling demand.
Eastdailies rise with advancing gas
Trading activity in the eastern U.S. favored gainsMonday, as an increase in spot natural gas prices offset expectations of mostlysofter demand and sent dailies higher.
In New England, next-day power at NEPOOL-Mass wastraded in a range spanning the low $30s for a daily gain of more than a dollarfrom April 29, while deals at New York Zone G were flat to April 29 and weredone in the low $30s as well. Transactions at PJM West continued the trend andsaw an increase of less than a dollar in the low $30s.
Day-ahead markets also held an upward bias, with DAMdeals at NEPOOL-Mass, New York Zone G and New York Zone J up by $6 to $7 fromApril 29 to rise to averages of $28.92, $29.10 and $29.76, respectively, whiletrades at New York Zone A soared by more than $20 to average $39.64.
Spot gas markets continued to move higher, with gasdeals at Algonquin Citygates posting an average above $2.50/MMBtu, climbingfrom an April 29 index of $2.47/MMBtu, while trades at TETCO-M3 rallied by morethan 20 cents to average near $1.65/MMBtu. Product at Transco Zone 6 New Yorkposted a premium of more than 40 cents to jump to an average close to$1.90/MMBtu.
Load outlooks in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic painta slightly softer demand picture, as load in New England should top out at14,350 MW on Tuesday, relatively unchanged from Monday, while demand in NewYork could hit 17,233 MW on Tuesday, down more than 600 MW from the day before.Peak load in the PJM Mid-Atlantic region should reach 30,733 MW on Tuesday,slipping by more than 600 MW from Monday, while demand in the PJM Westernregion may see a high at 45,747 MW on Tuesday, also tumbling by more than 600MW from the day prior.
Midwestmarkets open workweek with gas support
Power dailies in the central U.S. were biased higherMonday as pressures from varied load outlooks was counterbalanced by a rise inspot natural gas prices. Deals at PJM AEP-Dayton saw most of the session'saction, with power exchanged in the low $30s for a daily premium of close to $4.
PJM regions in the Midwestern U.S. predict varied loadto start the new workweek. Peak Tuesday demand in the PJM AEP region may touch14,550 MW, down more than 300 MW from Monday, while load in the PJM ComEdregion could crest at 11,004 MW on Tuesday, adding roughly 100 MW from theprevious day's forecasted high.
Spot gas trades at Chicago Citygates and NNG Demarcadded 1 cent to 3 cents from April 29 to post averages above $1.95/MMBtu andaround $1.90/MMBtu, respectively.
ERCOTdailies edged higher with fundamental support
Next-day power packages in Texas traded for a modestpremium Monday with the upside mostly driven by projections for strongerTuesday demand and support from flat to higher spot natural gas prices.
ERCOT expects peak demand to run up to 40,788 MW onTuesday, up more than 1,300 MW from Monday. Encouraged by load, next-day powerfor Tuesday delivery at ERCOT North added more than $3 in trades heard in thelow $20s.
Day-ahead markets ran counter to demand with most hubsshedding $2 to $3 to drop to averages of $20.91 at ERCOT Houston, $20.86 atERCOT North, $20.83 at ERCOT South and $20.71 at ERCOT West.
Spot gas markets nudged higher, with deals at El PasoPermian up by more than 5 cents from April 29 to average above $1.75/MMBtu,while trades at the Henry Hub were flat to April 29 and retained an averagearound $1.90/MMBtu.
Westmarkets enter new workweek mixed
Power parcels for Tuesday delivery in the West movedin different directions Monday, as some hubs waved aside support from higherload forecasts and an increase in spot natural gas prices.
The California ISO projects peak Tuesday load tosurpass 29,600 MW, around 300 MW greater than Monday's predicted high.Bolstered by demand, power deals at South Path-15 added more than $3 in a rangeencompassing the mid- to high $20s.
Power markets in the Northwest leaned flat to higher,with transactions at Mid-Columbia flat to April 29 in the low to mid-teens,while deals at the California-Oregon Border rose close to $2 in the high teensand low $20s.
Defying the uptick were hubs in the Southwest, withtrades a Mead down by about a dollar from April 29 in the low $20s, while transactionsat Palo Verde eased on the session and were pegged in the low $20s as well.
Working to support power dailies were modest gains inspot natural gas markets. Gas deals at Malin, PG&E Citygates and SoCalBorder added 3 cents to 5 cents from April 29 to rise to averages near$1.80/MMBtu, around $2.00/MMBtu and above $1.80/MMBtu, respectively.
Market prices and included industry data are currentas of the time of publication and are subject to change. For more detailedmarket data, including power,natural gas andcoal index prices, as well asforwards andfutures, visit our Commodities Pages.