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East values firm; West power markets favor losses

Prices at next-day power markets diverged Wednesday, June 7, in spite of outlooks calling for mostly elevated Thursday demand and biased higher spot gas prices.

After edging higher in early trade, the front-month July contract revisited the downside Wednesday and closed the session down 2.2 cents just above key $3.00/MMBtu support at $3.020/MMBtu.

Excluding deals done at Transco Zone 6 New York and PG&E Citygates, regional spot gas prices moved mostly higher and backed power dailies.

Following the unexpected loss of Exelon Corp.'s LaSalle 2 in Illinois, total U.S. nuclear plant availability slipped to 91.34% early June 7.

East markets firm with demand forecasts, mixed gas prices

Elevated Thursday load forecasts and some support from varied spot gas prices helped keep power dailies in the East on the positive side of the ledger Wednesday.

Across next-day markets, power at the New England Mass hub and PJM West added less than $1 from Tuesday and ranged in the low $20s for the former and the mid-$20s for the latter.

Regional day-ahead markets leaned mixed to lower. DAMs at the Mass hub were down by around $1.00 and averaged $21.13, while day-ahead deals at New York Zone A and New York Zone J shed less than $1 and averaged at $26.24 and $25.53, respectively. Defying the trend were trades at New York Zone G, which were steady to Tuesday at an average of $24.81.

Demand is set to rise in both the Northeast and mid-Atlantic. Load in New England was set to top out at 14,470 MW on Thursday, up about 450 MW from Wednesday, while demand in New York should run up to 18,085 MW on Thursday, up from 17,575 MW on Wednesday. Load in the PJM Mid-Atlantic region could crest at 31,025 MW on Thursday, increasing about 800 MW from Wednesday, while demand in the PJM Western region should peak at 49,500 MW on Thursday, increasing about 2,000 MW from Wednesday.

West markets flounder with slack demand outlooks

Daily power prices in the West stumbled Wednesday as values reflected declining Thursday load forecasts but with some locations supported by higher gas prices.

Hubs in the Northwest saw the biggest losses with power packages falling by more than $10 from Tuesday and changing hands in the mid- to high teens at Mid-Columbia and the low $20s at the California-Oregon Border. In California, power at South Path-15 was traded in the high $20s to low $30s, for a daily loss of almost $4. In the Southwest, Palo Verde and Mead transactions slipped by $1 to $2 on the session and were exchanged in the mid-$20s to low $30s for the former and the low $30s for the latter.

The California ISO is calling for load to touch peaks of 30,270 on Thursday, down about 1,500 MW from Wednesday.

Midwest DAMs biased higher on demand, gas support

Day-ahead markets in the Midwest leaned flat to higher Wednesday, owing to a combination of strong Thursday load forecasts and an increase in spot gas prices.

Day-ahead deals at PJM AEP-Dayton added less than $1 from Tuesday and averaged $25.17, while PJM Northern Illinois trades rose by roughly $5 on the session and averaged $38.59.

Demand in the PJM AEP region should hit a high of 14,900 MW on Wednesday, up 600 MW from Thursday, while load in the PJM ComEd region could reach a peak at 13,050 MW on Thursday, up from a high of 12,670 MW on Wednesday.

Looking ahead, the Midcontinent ISO declared a Hot Weather Alert for parts of the north region from June 10-14 and areas of the central region from June 11-14. Average temperatures are expected to be 95-99 degrees.

Sluggish load pulls down Texas DAMs

Power packages at Texas day-ahead markets eased Wednesday as slack demand forecasts countered support from higher spot gas prices.

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas expects demand to reach highs of 59,766 MW on Wednesday and 56,784 MW on Thursday.

Bogged down by demand, day-ahead markets moved flat to predominantly lower. Losses of less than $1 were noted at ERCOT North, ERCOT South and ERCOT West, which averaged $29.16, $33.97 and $29.67, respectively, while DAMs at ERCOT Houston fell by roughly $4 from Tuesday and averaged $34.26.

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.