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US daily power markets subdued with choppy load forecasts

Power prices across U.S. next-day markets were mixed to ultimately lower Tuesday, Feb. 27, pressured by outlooks for varied midweek demand.

At the natural gas futures market, the new front-month April contract spent its debut session on the downside and closed the session with a 0.3-cent loss at $2.683/MMBtu.

Looking at other supply, with a curtailment at American Electric Power Co. Inc.'s Donald C. Cook 2 plant in Michigan, total U.S. nuclear plant availability turned lower early Feb. 27 to 92.61%.

East dailies biased lower with slack demand

Declining demand forecasts left power dailies in the East biased lower Tuesday.

At next-day markets, the New England Mass hub saw power trade almost $4 lower from Monday in the low to mid-$20s, while PJM West deals added close to a dollar and were done in the mid-$20s.

Day-ahead markets were mixed to predominantly higher. Gains of less than a dollar were noted at New York Zone G and Zone J, where day-ahead power prices averaged $26.11 and $28.10, respectively, while DAMs at New York Zone A rose by about $2 with packages averaging $22.72. Conversely, day-ahead power prices at the Mass hub tumbled about a dollar and averaged $23.94.

In terms of load, demand in New England may peak at 15,670 MW on Tuesday and 15,200 MW on Wednesday, while load in New York should near highs of 18,910 MW on Tuesday and 18,806 MW on Wednesday. Demand in the PJM Mid-Atlantic region could top out at 34,792 MW on Tuesday and 34,104 MW on Wednesday, while load in the PJM Western region might crest at 53,235 MW on Tuesday and 49,938 MW on Wednesday.

Midwest markets tick lower ahead of midweek

Prices in the Midwest favored losses Tuesday as values saw little support from outlooks for varied Wednesday demand. Most of the session's action was MISO Indiana, where power prices ranged in the low $30s, down about $2 from Monday.

Load in the Midwest could diverge by the middle of the workweek. Demand in the PJM AEP region could peak at 17,645 MW on Tuesday and 15,993 MW on Wednesday, while load in the PJM ComEd region should hit highs of 11,343 MW on Tuesday and 11,691 MW on Wednesday.

Most Western power markets sag; Northwest values notch gains

Despite elevated Wednesday demand forecasts, power dailies in the West, excluding those in the Northwest, sagged Tuesday.

In California, on-peak power prices at South Path-15 slipped about $2 and changed hands in the mid-$30s. The California ISO expects demand to reach 29,239 MW on Tuesday and 29,458 MW on Wednesday. In the Southwest, heavy-load transactions at Palo Verde eased with power deals ranging in the high $20s.

Defying the trend were markets in the Northwest. Deals at Mid-Columbia were priced in the mid-$20s, up about $3 from Monday, while trades at the California-Oregon Border were seen in the high $20s, rising more than $5 from the day prior.

Texas DAMs favor losses despite load support

Day-ahead markets in Texas moved mixed to ultimately lower Tuesday as prices at most locations ignored calls for firm midweek demand.

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas is calling for highs of 41,076 MW on Tuesday and 41,119 MW on Wednesday. However, day-ahead deals still leaned mixed to lower. DAMs at ERCOT West shed more than a dollar and averaged $20.20, while DAMs at ERCOT North and ERCOT South eased by less than a dollar and averaged $20.91 and $21.22, respectively. DAMs at ERCOT Houston added about a dollar and averaged $23.88.

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.