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AM Power Report: Dailies could unravel with load

Most power dailies could notch losses Tuesday, Oct. 10, as outlooks for generally diminished demand at midweek combine with recent seesaw activity in natural gas futures.

After losing 3.0 cents in the prior session amid bearish fundamentals, at 6:30 a.m. ET, the front-month November natural gas futures contract was moving higher on short covering. The contract was up 3.2 cents to $2.865/MMBtu despite little change in the overall fundamental picture.

In step with the futures market, day-ahead natural gas markets could see choppy moves in the Tuesday session.

In terms of demand, most grid operators across the country anticipate reduced load at midweek.

In the Northeast, New England load is called to reach 17,350 MW on Tuesday and 15,300 MW on Wednesday, while New York demand is expected to hit highs at 20,974 MW on Tuesday and 19,146 MW on Wednesday. In the Mid-Atlantic, load in the PJM Western region is projected to top out at 53,699 MW on Tuesday and 49,408 MW in the middle of the business week, while demand in PJM Mid-Atlantic is seen cresting at 39,882 MW on Tuesday and 34,622 MW on Wednesday.

In the Midwest, PJM AEP region load is forecast to peak at 16,980 MW on Tuesday and 15,626 MW on Wednesday, while PJM ComEd demand is seen reaching highs at 12,193 MW on Tuesday and 11,378 MW on Wednesday.

Elsewhere, Texas demand should near 44,991 MW on Tuesday and 43,988 MW at midweek, while California load could touch a high near 30,900 MW on Tuesday and 29,750 MW on Wednesday.

In forward trade, price action for November power was choppy with a dominant downside bias in the week's opening session Oct. 9, as losses at the natural gas futures complex signaled cheaper fueling costs.

In the East, month-ahead power transactions fell by nearly 40 cents to an index around $35 in New England and shed about 10 cents to average atop $32 at PJM West. Along the forward curve, December power deals were done in the mid-$50s in New England and in the high $30s at PJM West.

In the Midwest, PJM AD November advanced by 15 cents to an index above $32, and PJM Northern Illinois November rose by more than $1 to an average close to $31, as MISO Indiana November eased by roughly 10 cents to an index at around $34. Power for December delivery was marked in the low to high $30s overall.

In the South, pricing for front-month power was almost unchanged day on day at an average atop $29 at ERCOT Houston but down 90 cents to $1 at indexes ranging roughly from $21 to $26 at the rest of the ERCOT hubs. Regional price activity for December power similarly spanned the low to high $20s.

In the West, November power deals tacked on more or less 40 cents in California to average at around $38 at North Path-15 and close to $35 at South Path-15, as similar transactions slumped by about 10 cents to an index above $24 at Mid-Columbia and faltered by 40 cents to an index atop $26 at Palo Verde. Power trades for December were assessed 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.