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AM Power Report: Dailies could retreat amid dearth of support

at the dailymarkets could falter Thursday, March 31, as traders consider predominantlydeclining load forecasts for the close of the workweek but also recent firmnessat the natural gas futures arena.

Innatural gas action, the new front-month May contract last traded at the$2.000/MMBtu mark, up 0.4 cent overnight, after in the previous sessionwith eyes on the midmorning release of weekly storage data, which is to show a 24-Bcf drawfor the week ended March 25.

Onthe demand side, most grid operators across the country anticipate diminishedload at the close of the workweek, when business-related demand typically wanesapproaching the weekend break.

Inthe Northeast, demand in New England is projected to crest at 14,640 MW onThursday and 14,160 MW on Friday, while load in New York is seen touching ahigh near 18,031 MW on Thursday and 17,682 MW on Friday. To the south, PJMWestern region demand should near 45,539 MW on Thursday and 45,019 MW at theend of the business week, while PJM Mid-Atlantic load could hold firm againstthe wider decline at peaks at 30,088 MW on Thursday and 30,126 MW on Friday.

Inthe Midwest, load in the PJM AEP region is poised to hit a high at 14,377 MW onThursday and 14,179 MW at the close of the workweek, while demand in PJM ComEdis called to reach 10,982 MW on Thursday and 10,889 MW on Friday.

Inthe South, load in ERCOT is forecast to see highs at 42,093 MW on Thursday and36,103 MW on Friday.

Inthe West, CAISO demand is expected to top out at 27,600 MW on Thursday and27,222 MW on Friday, which could help fuel downside momentum for power dailiesin the region Thursday amid the typical revised trading schedule featuringtwo-day partly weekend products for Friday-Saturday delivery.

Inforward trade, power deals for April were mixed but mostly lower in theirpenultimate session as the front-month offering Wednesday, as were powertransactions for delivery further out to May, as moderating weather associatedwith the spring shoulder season that should keep demand subdued reflected moreon values at most locations than did gains at the natural gas futures arenathat implied a boost in fueling costs.

Inthe East, prompt-month power values eased by 10 cents at NEPOOL-Mass butadvanced by about 40 cents at PJM West to average near equal footing at roughly$32, as pricing for May power floundered by a little more than 70 cents toaround $33 in New England but rose by 70 cents to close to $35 at PJM West.

Inthe Midwest, transactions for April power clawed up by roughly 10 cents toalmost $30 at PJM AD and climbed by nearly 20 cents to about $28 at PJMNorthern Illinois, as similar deals slumped by more than 20 cents to above $27at MISO Indiana. Further along the forward curve, power trades for May werebolstered by around 30 cents to almost $32 at PJM AD and lifted by 75 cents toatop $28 at PJM Northern Illinois, but driven a little more than 10 cents lowerto about $29 at MISO Indiana.

Inthe South, price activity for month-ahead power at the ERCOT markets unraveledabout $1 across the board to average roughly between $23 and $26, sharing arange with regional pricing for May power that was weaker by about 20 cents dayon day overall.

Inthe West, power trades for April in California ascended by about 40 cents toatop $22 at North Path-15 but deflated by near $2 to roughly $20 at SouthPath-15, as similar deals retreated by a little more than 30 cents to about $13at Mid-Columbia but rose by around 40 cents to almost $19 at Palo Verde.Further out, California saw power transactions for May advance by almost 70cents at North Path-15 but stumble by more than $1 at South Path-15 to averagenear parity with hub activity for April power, as Mid-Columbia May recoiled by40 cents to almost $11 and Palo Verde May jumped by 70 cents to near $18.

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Marketprices and included industry data are current as of the time of publication andare subject to change. For more detailed market data, including power andnatural gasindex prices, as well as forwards and futures, visitour Commodities Pages.