Power prices across major U.S. next-day marketschopped around Tuesday, April 5, with dailies biased higher in Texas and theWest but with values falling in the East and Midwest.
After tackingon gains overnight, the front-month May natural gas futurescontract reversed the uptick and closed the second session of the workweek down4.4 cents to settle at $1.954/MMBtu. Spot natural gas markets moved indifferent directions with trades at Algonquin Citygates posting sizeable losses.
In other supply, total U.S. ticked lowerearly April 5 to 87.38%, down from 87.47% on April 4 but still above the 83.79%recorded on the same day last year. Keeping the downtick in check was therestart of NextEra Energy Inc.'sPoint Beach 1 in Wisconsin and increased production at 's Brunswick 1 inNorth Carolina.
According to a forecast from AccuWeather.com, "Anothershot of cold air lunging across the midwestern and eastern United States bythis weekend will cause the chance for another round of spring snow to increasein both regions."
ERCOTdailies move higher despite slack demand
Power packages in Texas were priced at a modestpremium Tuesday, in spite of forecasts calling for sluggish midweek demand andlimited support from mixed spot natural gas prices.
ERCOT forecasts weaker midweek load, with demandprojected to see a high at 39,822 MW on Wednesday, down more than 1,300 MW fromTuesday. However, next-day trades at ERCOT North were undeterred and addedclose to $5 on the session in the mid-$20s.
Day-ahead markets mirrored next-day moves and edgedhigher as well, with DAM trades at ERCOT Houston, ERCOT North and ERCOT Southadding about $5 from Monday to post averages of $23.02, $22.84 and $22.55,respectively, while DAM transactions at ERCOT West climbed by roughly $10 onthe session and averaged $20.55.
Spot gas markets were varied, with gas deals at ElPaso Permian adding more than 5 cents from Monday to average above $1.70/MMBtu,while trades at the Henry Hub were about 3 cents lower from Monday and averagedaround $1.90/MMBtu.
Westdailies firm with load and gas support
Power parcels in the western U.S. leaned flat tohigher Tuesday, as dailies derived support from rising midweek load forecastsand firm spot natural gas prices.
Power deals in the Northwest added $1 to $2 fromMonday with action in the low to mid-teens at Mid-Columbia and the high teensat COB. Trades in California were flat to higher, with North Path-15 posting apremium of about $2 in the mid-$20s, while South Path-15 added less than adollar in the low $20s. Hubs in the Southwest saw little change on the session,with Palo Verde transactions up by less than a dollar in the high teens and low$20s, while Mead deals were flat to Monday and were pegged in the high teens.
Spot gas markets favored the upside and supporteddailies. Gas trades at Malin and SoCal Border increased by about 1 cent to 3cents from Monday and rose to averages around $1.75/MMBtu and close to$1.80/MMBtu, respectively, while transactions at PG&E Citygates were flatto the day prior and retained an average above $1.90/MMBtu.
CAISO anticipates stronger demand, with peak loadpossibly running up to 30,401 MW on Wednesday, up close to 500 MW from Tuesday.
Eastdailies flounder with soft demand and retreating gas
Power markets in the East saw a dearth of fundamentalsupport Tuesday, as dailies were bogged down by forecasts calling for mostlylower midweek load and losses in spot natural gas prices.
Next-day deals at NEPOOL-Mass and New York Zone Afailed to hold on to prior day gains, with trades at both hubs done in themid-$40s, each down from Monday's indexes of $48.75 and $51.00, respectively,while deals at PJM West were pegged in the low $30s, tumbling from an index of$37.99 noted on Monday. Power trades at New York Zone G, on the other hand, sawlittle change from Monday and were heard in the mid-$30s.
Day-ahead markets in the Northeast were mixed. DAMdeals at New York Zone G and New York Zone J added about $3 from Monday androse to averages of $37.93 and $38.33, respectively, while DAM trades at NewYork Zone A fell more than $10 to average $41.89. DAM transactions atNEPOOL-Mass eased by less than a dollar and averaged $50.73.
Spot gas markets took a few steps back, with gas dealsat Algonquin Citygates losing around $1.20 from Monday to fall to an averagebelow $4.55/MMBtu, while trades at TETCO-M3 noted a daily loss of more than 20cents and slipped to an average around $1.55/MMBtu. Deals at Transco Zone 6 NewYork were able to limit the downtick to roughly 2 cents but still averagedbelow $2.00/MMBtu.
Grid operators in the Northeast expect softer midweekload, with Wednesday demand in New England possibly touching 16,170 MW,shedding 240 MW from Tuesday, while load in New York should crest at 18,717 MWon Wednesday, slipping more than 800 MW from the day prior.
PJM regions in the Mid-Atlantic forecast varieddemand, with peak load in the PJM Mid-Atlantic region potentially reaching35,451 MW on Wednesday, up roughly 200 MW from Tuesday, while midweek demand inthe PJM Western region should top out at 51,143 MW, plunging more than 1,800 MWfrom the previous day.
Midwestmarkets falter with weak demand and mixed gas prices
Trading activity in the Midwest was oriented to thedownside Tuesday, as dailies retreated with softer midweek demand forecasts andlimited support from varied spot natural gas prices. Most of the session'snext-day action was focused at MISO Indiana, where power was traded in a rangespanning the high $20s, for a daily loss of more than a dollar.
Midwestern load outlooks are aimed lower, with demandin the PJM AEP region poised to hit 17,090 MW on Wednesday, down roughly 550 MWfrom Tuesday, while load in the PJM ComEd region may peak at 11,330 MW onWednesday, stumbling about 450 MW from the day prior.
Spot gas markets diverged and offered dailies with littlesupport. Gas trades at NNG Demarc added around 2 cents from Monday and averagedclose to $1.90/MMBtu, while transactions at Chicago Citygates fell by about 5cents from Monday and averaged below $2.00/MMBtu.
Market prices and included industry data are currentas of the time of publication and are subject to change. For more detailedmarket data, including power,natural gas andcoal index prices, as well asforwards andfutures, visit our Commodities Pages.