Trading activity across U.S. next-day markets took a few steps back Wednesday, Feb. 14, as markets took into account outlooks for deflated Thursday demand.
At natural gas futures, the front-month March contract closed the day in shallow negative territory at $2.587/MMBtu, down 0.7 cent.
In other supply, total U.S. nuclear plant availability increased to 96.90% as of early Feb. 14.
Grid operators in most regions are calling for subdued Thursday load as business-related demand typically starts to wind down after the midweek.
Eastern power markets sag with demand
Daily power prices in the East responded to projections for slack Thursday demand with losses Wednesday.
At next-day markets, power prices at the New England Mass hub dropped more than $4 on the session and changed hands in the mid-$20s, while PJM West and New York Zone A trades shed roughly a dollar from Tuesday and spanned the low $20s.
Day-ahead markets in the Northeast also took a few steps back. Losses ranged from $1 to $6 at the Mass hub, New York Zone A, New York Zone G and New York Zone J, where day-ahead deals averaged $25.38, $19.31, $23.25 and $27.17, respectively.
In terms of load, demand in New England may peak at 16,750 MW on Wednesday and 15,700 MW on Thursday, while load in New York should near highs of 19,848 MW on Wednesday and 19,310 MW on Thursday. Load in the PJM Mid-Atlantic region should top out at 36,122 MW on Wednesday and 33,320 MW on Thursday, while demand in the PJM Western region could crest at 53,637 MW on Wednesday and 50,060 MW on Thursday.
Midwest markets post losses with load outlooks
Prices in the Midwest sagged Wednesday amid declining demand forecasts. PJM AEP-Dayton saw most of Wednesday's action with power exchanged in the low $20s, down about a dollar from Tuesday.
Load is set to fall by the latter part of the workweek. Demand in the PJM AEP region should touch highs of 17,172 MW on Wednesday and 15,614 MW on Thursday, while load in the PJM ComEd region may reach peaks of 12,451 MW on Wednesday and 12,343 MW on Thursday.
Southwest markets firm; Northwest dailies ease
Western power markets posted mixed but muted moves Wednesday as prices at some locations withstood pressures from soft Thursday demand.
In the Northwest, power prices at Mid-Columbia slipped less than $1 and changed hands in the high teens to low $20s while in the Southwest, packages at Palo Verde were flat to Tuesday and ranged in the mid-$20s.
The California ISO is expecting demand to peak at 28,602 MW on Wednesday and 28,409 MW on Thursday.
Deflated demand forecasts lead Texas markets lower
Day-ahead markets in Texas leaned flat to predominantly lower Wednesday following calls for waning Thursday demand.
The Electric Reliability Council of Texas is projecting demand to run up to 42,626 MW on Wednesday and 40,215 MW on Thursday.
Unsupported by load, day-ahead deals eased with ERCOT Houston, ERCOT North and ERCOT West shedding less than $1 and averaging $21.03, $20.58 and $19.14, respectively, while ERCOT South trades slipped by more than a dollar and averaged $21.18.
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.