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AM Power Report: Dailies could ascend with load prospects

Price activity for next-day power could be bolstered Wednesday, Feb. 21, by mostly rising demand outlooks for Thursday.

Traders will also watch natural gas markets at midweek. Rising 5.8 cents in the prior trading day, NYMEX March natural gas futures were slightly lower in light profit taking early Wednesday. At about 6:45 a.m. ET, the front-month contract was down 0.9 cent to $2.607/MMBtu.

Day-ahead natural gas markets could see mixed moves, in conjunction with the activity in the natural gas futures arena.

Looking at demand, most grid operators across the country anticipate stronger load on Thursday.

In the Northeast, demand in New England is called to reach 15,300 MW on Wednesday and 16,260 MW on Thursday, while load in New York is poised to top out at 18,761 MW on Wednesday and 19,386 MW on Thursday. In the mid-Atlantic, PJM Western region demand is seen cresting at 50,203 MW on Wednesday and 51,922 MW on Thursday, while PJM Mid-Atlantic load is projected to see highs at 32,397 MW on Wednesday and 34,614 MW on Thursday.

In the Midwest, demand in the PJM AEP region could touch a high near 15,235 MW on Wednesday and 15,789 MW in the latter part of the business week, while load in PJM ComEd will likely hit highs at 12,457 MW on Wednesday and 12,684 MW on Thursday.

In the South, load in Texas should near 44,745 MW on Wednesday and 43,826 MW on Thursday, running against the dominant uptrend.

In the West, California demand is expected to peak at 29,575 MW on Wednesday and 28,825 MW on Thursday.

In term activity, the price of March power was higher across the board in the abbreviated workweek's opening session Feb. 20, in line with rising front-month natural gas futures that ultimately implied an uptick in fueling costs.

In the East, March power tacked on about 10 cents in deals carried out in the high $30s in New England and added almost $2 in transactions done in the low $30s at PJM West. April power changed hands in the mid-$30s in New England and also in the low $30s at PJM West.

In the Midwest, PJM Northern Illinois March was up roughly 90 cents day on day in the high $20s, while trading activity for prompt-month power was between $1 and $2 stronger in the low $30s at both PJM AD and MISO Indiana. Power for April delivery was assessed in the high $20s to the mid-$30s overall.

In the South, gains of 30 cents to 40 cents at the ERCOT markets took pricing for month-ahead power to the low $20s into the low $30s. Regional price action for April power spanned the mid-$20s to the low $30s.

In the West, California saw power prices for March climb by around 80 cents to the high $20s at North Path-15 and ascend by 70 cents to the low $30s at South Path-15, as front-month pricing rose by almost $2 to the high $10s at Mid-Columbia and advanced by about 50 cents to the low $20s at Palo Verde. April power values were spotted in the low to mid-$10s at Mid-Columbia and in the low to high $20s elsewhere in the region.

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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.