Amid expectations of elevated demand after the Memorial Day holiday weekend, next-day power markets in the U.S. favored gains on Friday, May 26.
After notching gains in early trade, the front-month June natural gas contract rolled off the board at $3.236/MMBtu, up 5.2 cents. The now-front-month July contract closed the session with a 3.5-cent gain at $3.310/MMBtu.
Spot gas markets traded power for the combined delivery days of May 27-30 with most locations, except the Henry Hub, notching losses and failing to support dailies.
Most regions of the U.S. are projecting mixed demand for Memorial Day on Monday, May 29, but with load called to rebound on Tuesday, May 30.
Looking at the supply of nuclear generation, total plant availability increased to 87.03% early May 26.
West markets rebound on post-holiday load outlooks
Power prices in the West edged higher Friday as potentially higher May 30 demand associated with next-day schedule revisions offset pressure from sagging gas prices.
To account for the Memorial Day holiday on May 29, markets in the West traded on-peak power for May 30 delivery.
In California, on-peak trades at South Path-15 advanced more than $15 in the high $30s. In the Southwest, Palo Verde and Mead noted gains of $7 to $10, with deals ranging in the low to mid-$30s at the former and the low $30s at the latter.
In the Northwest, heavy-load trades at Mid-Columbia added around $9 and were done in the mid- to high $20s, while transactions at the California-Oregon Border hub rose by almost $20 and were pegged in the high $30s.
Demand in California may top out at 27,342 MW on Friday and 26,648 MW on Saturday, with load expected to rebound at the start of the new workweek on May 30
PJM West notches gains on demand outlooks
Forecasts for strong May 30 demand countered soft spot gas prices and helped next-day power deals in the East notch gains Friday.
Most of the session's next-day action was centered at PJM West, where packages added roughly $3 from Thursday and ranged in the low $30s.
Day-ahead markets moved lower with deals for the weaker-demand Saturday delivery. The New England Mass hub averaged $22.33, while markets in New York ranged anywhere from $24.88 in Zone G and $30.03 in Zone J to as low as $10.59 in Zone A.
New England demand is projected to hit peaks of 13,850 MW on Friday and 13,210 MW on May 29 before rising to 14,440 MW on May 30. New York load should top out at 17,761 MW on Friday and 15,974 MW on May 29 then rebound to 19,458 MW on May 30.
The PJM Mid-Atlantic region should see highs of 30,605 MW on Friday and 31,477 MW on May 29, which could increase to 33,107 MW on May 30. The PJM Western region should see demand crest at 46,254 MW on Friday and 48,982 MW on May 29 then 49,583 MW on May 30.
Midwest markets close workweek with load support
Power markets in the Midwest spent a quiet Friday session garnering support from elevated demand forecasts and saw no support from easing gas prices.
However day-ahead markets for Saturday remained soft amid low demand forecasts for the weekend. Day-ahead deals at the PJM AEP-Dayton hub in Ohio averaged $30.17, while the Northern Illinois market was pegged at $34.88.
The PJM AEP region should see load reach 14,320 MW on Friday, 15,512 MW on May 29 and 15,509 MW on May 30. Demand in the PJM ComEd region may near peaks of 11,205 MW on Friday, 11,620 MW on May 29 and 11,675 MW on May 30.
Texas markets enter long holiday weekend unsupported
Daily power markets in Texas saw a dearth of fundamental support Friday from projections of slack demand over the holiday weekend and mixed spot gas prices.
Day-ahead deals drifted lower with the soft load forecast for Saturday with averages pegged at $30.06 at ERCOT West, $31.16 at ERCOT North, $33.62 at ERCOT South and $39.89 at ERCOT Houston.
Demand in Texas should see peaks of 60,181 MW on Friday, 47,030 MW on May 29 and 49,392 MW on May 30.
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.