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AM Power Report: Dailies could be higher with load, gas

Next-day power prices could rise Tuesday, Aug. 15, as the anticipation of generally stronger demand at midweek combines with a fresh uptick in natural gas futures trading.

Down 2.4 cents in the prior session, NYMEX September natural gas futures were again aimed lower early Tuesday on profit taking. At last look at 6:45 a.m. ET, the front-month futures contract was down 2.5 cents to trade near $2.934/MMBtu.

Day-ahead natural gas prices are expected to take their cue from the recent futures activity and are likely to leak lower at many major consuming hubs Tuesday.

On the demand side, outlooks suggest elevated load in much of the country at midweek.

In the Northeast, demand in New England is poised to peak at 19,490 MW on Tuesday and 20,660 MW on Wednesday, while load in New York is called to reach 24,830 MW on Tuesday and 25,044 MW in the middle of the business week. In the Mid-Atlantic, demand in PJM Western region is seen cresting at 65,574 MW on Tuesday and 68,353 MW on Wednesday, while load in PJM Mid-Atlantic is projected to hit highs at 42,402 MW on Tuesday and 47,174 MW on Wednesday.

In the Midwest, PJM AEP region load is expected to touch a high near 19,948 MW on Tuesday and 20,522 MW on Wednesday, while PJM ComEd demand is forecast to top out at 15,802 MW on Tuesday and 16,748 MW on Wednesday.

In the South, load in Texas should near 67,907 MW on Tuesday and 68,540 MW at midweek. In the West, California demand is forecast to see highs at 33,175 MW on Tuesday and 34,415 MW on Wednesday.

In term trading, power for September delivery predominantly shed value in the week's opening session Aug. 14, in tandem with prompt-month natural gas futures that notched losses to ultimately suggest a reduction in fueling costs.

In the East, price action for September power unraveled about 10 cents to average atop $31 in New England and fell by 40 cents to an index above $32 at PJM West. Farther along the forward curve, power prices for October were pegged in the high $20s in New England and also in the low $30s at PJM West.

In the Midwest, front-month power transactions were off about 70 cents day on day at an index near $32 at PJM AD and down 30 cents at an average around $31 at PJM Northern Illinois, while similar deals at MISO Indiana were almost 40 cents weaker at an index close to $34. Trades for October power delivery were assessed also in the low $30s at the PJM Interconnection hubs and in the mid-$30s at MISO Indiana.

In the South, pricing for September power at the ERCOT markets deflated by as much as 30 cents to indexes spread from almost $30 to atop $34. Regional price activity for October power spanned the mid-$20s to the mid-$30s.

In the West, month-ahead power deals at both North Path-15 and South Path-15 in California advanced by 20 cents to indexes at almost $39, as similar trades also defied the wider downtrend by adding about 60 cents to average above $28 at Mid-Columbia but gave back roughly 60 cents to average around $30 at Palo Verde. Power transactions for October were carried out also in the high $30s in California and in the low to high $20s 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.