Next-day power prices across the U.S. were mixed but predominantly lower Wednesday, Oct. 11, as markets searched for guidance amid subdued Thursday demand forecasts and supportive spot gas prices.
The November natural gas contract reversed a prior-day uptick and settled into shallow negative territory at $2.889/MMBtu, down a scant 0.2 cent. On the other hand, spot gas markets, excluding those in the Northeast, swung higher and supported power markets.
Despite the loss of Exelon Corp.'s Three Mile Island 1 unit in Pennsylvania, total U.S. nuclear plant availability rose to 88.12% early Oct. 11.
East values tumble with slack fundamentals
Power markets in the East responded to declining load forecasts and falling spot gas prices with losses Wednesday.
At the New England Mass hub and PJM West, next-day deals fell $7 to $9 from Tuesday and saw trades pegged in the high $20s at the former and the low $30s at the latter.
Values at day-ahead markets in the Northeast were mixed but held a downward bias. Deals at the Mass hub added about a dollar and averaged $30.90. In New York, losses ranging from less than a dollar to $4 were noted at day-ahead markets, with New York Zone A, New York Zone G and New York Zone J posting averages of $23.86, $26.72 and $36.60, respectively.
Adding more downward pressure on power prices were regional spot gas prices. Gas deals at Tetco M3 fell more than $1.70 to an average below $1.05/MMBtu, while Transco Zone 6 New York saw gas exchanged more than 25 cents lower from Tuesday to an average below $2.65/MMBtu.
Demand in both the Northeast and mid-Atlantic is projected to fall. Load in New England may top out at 15,300 MW on Wednesday and 14,610 MW on Thursday, while demand in New York should crest at 19,469 MW on Wednesday and 18,455 MW on Thursday. The PJM Mid-Atlantic region is called to see highs of 34,071 MW on Wednesday and 31,855 MW on Thursday, while demand in the PJM Western region should hit peaks of 49,896 MW on Wednesday and 47,607 MW on Thursday.
Midwest dailies notch losses despite gas support
Power markets in the Midwest turned lower Wednesday despite support from higher spot gas prices and varied load outlooks
The majority of the session's trading action was focused at MISO Indiana, where power changed hands in the low $30s, down almost $3 from Tuesday.
Mixed load may be in store for the region, as demand in the PJM AEP region may reach peaks of 16,424 MW on Wednesday and 14,864 MW on Thursday, while load in the PJM ComEd region should touch highs of 11,292 MW on Wednesday and 11,358 MW on Thursday.
Texas dailies swing higher with supportive fundamentals
Expectations of strong Thursday demand, driven by a return to normal and above-normal temperatures, and a rise in regional spot gas prices supported gains at Texas power markets Wednesday.
The Electric Reliability Council of Texas is projecting peaks of 41,983 MW on Wednesday and 52,624 MW on Thursday.
Taking into account demand support, next-day deals at ERCOT North added about $3 from Tuesday and ranged in the mid-$20s.
Day-ahead markets in the region also moved higher. Deals at ERCOT Houston surged more than $50 to an average of $82.67, while gains of $1 to $7 were noted at ERCOT North, ERCOT South and ERCOT West, respectively, where day-ahead power prices averaged $24.59, $34.49 and $26.46.
Most West values muted amid slack demand, higher gas prices
Sagging Thursday demand forecasts and higher spot gas prices left power markets in the West mixed but mostly muted Wednesday.
The California ISO expects demand to run up to 29,601 MW on Wednesday and 29,043 MW on Thursday. However, despite the lower load forecast, trading action was mixed. On-peak power prices at South Path-15 slipped almost $2 in the low $30s, while packages at North Path-15 were flat to Tuesday and spanned the mid-$30s.
Hubs in the Northwest were varied as well, with Mid-Columbia deals steady in the mid- to high $20s while power prices at the California-Oregon Border hub eased less than $1 in the high $20s.
Markets in the Southwest also chopped around, with Mead trades flat to Tuesday in the mid-$20s while Palo Verde heavy load deals shed less than $1 in the mid-$20s as well.
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