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Daily power markets start fresh workweek mixed

Q2: U.S. Solar and Wind Power by the Numbers

Essential Energy Insights - September 17, 2020

Essential Energy Insights September 2020

Rate case activity slips, COVID-19 proceedings remain at the forefront in August


Daily power markets start fresh workweek mixed

Next-day trading activity in the U.S. was mixed Monday, Oct. 9, amid mostly deflated Tuesday demand forecasts and lower spot gas prices.

Despite drifting into shallow positive territory, the front-month November natural gas futures contract reversed course and closed the session with a 3.0-cent loss at $2.833/MMBtu. Likewise, spot gas markets, with the exception of those located in the Northeast, slipped and failed to support power prices.

According to the National Weather Service, "A cold front moving eastward in the central U.S. will bring chilly overnight temperatures from the Southern Plains to the Upper Midwest."

With the refueling season ramping up, five nuclear power plants were shut since Oct. 6 and worked to pull down total U.S. nuclear plant availability early Oct. 9.

East dailies rise with gas, held back by demand forecasts

Higher spot gas prices provided daily power prices in the East with a lift Monday but with the uptick kept in check by forecasts for mixed Tuesday demand.

At next-day markets, power prices at the New England Mass hub rose by about $10 to an index around the mid-$50s while PJM West deals were around $3 higher on the session and were pegged in the high $40s to low $50s.

Despite varied load forecasts, day-ahead markets rose with the Mass hub adding more than $20 from Oct. 6 and averaging $56.17 while gains of more than $10 were noted at New York Zone A and New York Zone G, which averaged $35.01 and $38.64, respectively. Day-ahead deals at New York Zone J gained around $8 on the session and averaged $43.15.

Demand in the Northeast and mid-Atlantic is expected to diverge with New England load possibly reaching 17,880 MW on Monday and 17,580 MW on Tuesday, while demand in New York may touch 21,024 MW on Monday and 21,287 MW on Tuesday. The PJM Mid-Atlantic region should see load crest at 38,980 MW on Monday and 39,882 MW on Tuesday, while demand in the PJM Western region may top out at 54,375 MW on Monday and 52,927 MW on Tuesday.

Lackluster fundamentals pull down Midwest dailies

An incoming cold front, slack demand forecasts and easing spot gas prices all worked to depress power values in the central U.S. on Monday. PJM AEP-Dayton hub saw the bulk of the session's action with power prices easing around a dollar and changing hands in the low $40s.

Demand is projected to fall as the workweek starts to unfold with the PJM AEP region called to see highs of 17,123 MW on Monday and 16,980 MW on Tuesday, while the PJM ComEd region should note peaks of 12,894 MW on Monday and 11,756 MW on Tuesday.

Northwest markets falter; Calif., Southwest dailies firm

Daily power prices in the West diverged Monday with prices in the Northwest slipping with slack fundamentals but with values in California and the Southwest moving higher on the session.

In California, power at South Path-15 was exchanged in the high $30s, up roughly a dollar from Oct. 6. In the Southwest, values at Palo Verde rose about $2 and were pegged in the high $20s to low $30s, while Mead transactions were steady to Oct. 6 and were seen in the high $20s to low $30s as well.

Defying the trend were markets in the Northwest with Mid-Columbia and the California-Oregon Border seeing trades fall around $2 and ranging in the mid- to high $20s at the former and the low $30s at the latter.

The California ISO is projecting peaks of 31,353 MW on Monday and 31,226 MW on Tuesday.

Texas deals fall on lower load forecasts, sagging gas prices

Day-ahead markets in Texas ticked lower Monday following outlooks suggesting a sizeable drop in demand alongside lower regional spot gas prices.

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas is calling for highs of 62,286 MW on Monday and 45,618 MW on Tuesday. In addition, ERCOT Meteorologist Chris Coleman said in an Oct. 9 forecast that the region may go from "summer today to late-fall/early-winter tomorrow."

Following a sharp fall in demand, day-ahead markets tumbled $3 to $6 and averaged $36.64 at ERCOT Houston, $22.50 at ERCOT North, $28.54 at ERCOT South and $23.29 at ERCOT West.

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.