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US power dailies move mixed with choppy load outlook

Power values across major U.S. next-day markets werejumbled Tuesday, May 3, as dailies sought direction in the midst of forecastscalling for mixed but mostly subdued midweek demand and support coming from anuptick in spot natural gas prices.

After regainingsome ground prior to the May 3 open, the front-month June natural gas futurescontract defended the upside and added 4.4 cents to settle at $2.086/MMBtu.Likewise, spot gas markets continued to move higher with hubs in the Westseeing sizable gains.

In other supply, total U.S. saw a smallincrease early May 3 to 82.39%; up from 82.06% on May 2 but still lower thanthe 82.68% level reported on the same day in 2015.

Eastdailies falter with declining demand

Next-day power packages in the East lost some groundTuesday, as forecasts calling for lower midweek load offset limited supportfrom varied spot natural gas prices.

In the Northeast, next-day deals at NEPOOL-Mass weredone in the low $30s for a daily loss of more than a dollar while power dealsat New York Zone A fell by more than $5 in the low $30s as well. In theMid-Atlantic, trades at PJM West were seen in the high $20s, down from a prior-dayindex of $32.75.

Day-ahead markets in the Northeast were jumbled. DAMdeals at NEPOOL-Mass added close to $3 to average $31.79 while DAM trades atNew York Zone J gained less than a dollar to average $30.42. DAM transactionsat New York Zone A fell by more than $8 to average $30.95 while deals at NewYork Zone G eased on the session and averaged $29.08.

Spot gas markets were mixed, with gas deals atTETCO-M3 up by about 9 cents from Monday to an average above $1.70/MMBtu, whiletrades at Transco Zone 6 New York shed roughly 2 cents on the session toaverage below $1.90/MMBtu.

Load in the Northeast is set to fall, with peak loadin New England potentially touching 14,400 MW on Wednesday, down 100 MW fromTuesday, while demand in New York may crest at 17,320 MW on Wednesday, tumblingby roughly 600 MW from the previous day.

PJM regions in the Mid-Atlantic project varied midweekload, as peak demand in the PJM Mid-Atlantic region should reach 30,396 MW onWednesday, falling by more than 1,000 MW from Tuesday, while load in the PJMWestern region could top out at 46,034 MW on Wednesday, up by more than 400 MWfrom the prior day.

Midwestmarkets boosted by gas ahead of midweek

Price activity in the central U.S. was biased slightlyhigher Tuesday as dailies were able to derive support from an uptick in spotnatural gas markets despite forecasts suggesting varied midweek load.

Most of the session's next-day action was concentratedat MISO Indiana, where power changed hands in the low $30s for a daily gain of morethan a dollar.

Grid operators in the central U.S. expect mixedmidweek demand. The PJM AEP region forecasts a Wednesday high at 14,446 MW,down by more than 100 MW from Tuesday, while the PJM ComEd region predicts loadto surpass 11,100 MW on Wednesday, up by more than 100 MW from the day before.

Midwestern spot gas markets extended prior-day gains,with Chicago Citygates and NNG Demarc each adding close to 9 cents from Mondayto rise to averages above $2.05/MMBtu and $1.95/MMBtu, respectively.

Texasdailies ease despite fundamental backing

Next-day power dailies in Texas took a small step backTuesday, in spite of forecasts of markedly higher Wednesday demand and anongoing uptick in spot natural gas markets.

ERCOT projects a midweek high of 42,579 MW, up morethan 3,100 MW from Tuesday. Despite stronger demand, next-day power at ERCOTNorth eased by less than a dollar in deals heard in the low $20s.

Day-ahead markets moved slightly higher as most hubsadded around a dollar from Monday to post averages of $22.04 at ERCOT Houston,$21.98 at ERCOT North, $21.89 at ERCOT South and $21.76 at ERCOT West.

Spot gas markets continued to advance , with gas dealsat the El Paso Permian up close to 10 cents from Monday to an average above$1.85/MMBtu, while trades at the Henry Hub were a cent higher from Monday andretained an average greater than $1.90/MMBtu.

MostWest markets firm, California dailies flounder with demand

Power prices in the Western U.S., with the exceptionof deals done in California, leaned flat to slightly higher Tuesday as mosthubs ignored forecasts for weaker midweek demand but responded to supportcoming from a rise in spot natural gas prices.

Hubs in the Northeast saw little change from Monday,with power deals at Mid-Columbia adding less than a dollar in the mid-teenswhile deals at COB were flat to the day prior in the low $20s. Markets in theSouthwest followed suit, with trades at Palo Verde and Mead both done in thelow teens with each adding less than a dollar on the session.

Running counter to the trend were power transactionsin California, where packages for midweek delivery lost more than a dollar withtrades done in the mid-$20s at both South Path-15 and North Path-15.

Spot gas markets favored the upside, with gas deals atMalin and SoCal Border adding roughly 10 cents from Monday to climb to averagesaround $1.90/MMBtu and above $1.90/MMBtu, respectively, while trades atPG&E Citygates gained close to 4 cents to average roughly $2.05/MMBtu.

The California ISO estimates that peak load may run upto 28,819 MW on Wednesday, down by around 1,000 MW from Tuesday.

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.