Power prices at U.S. next-day markets moved in different directions Monday, March 19, as values at some locations defied outlooks for mostly elevated Tuesday demand.
At the natural gas futures arena, the front-month April contract reversed early gains and dropped 3.7 cents to settle at $2.651/MMBtu as the market braces for the arrival of spring.
In other supply, the loss of five reactors took total U.S. nuclear plant availability down to 86.81% by early March 19.
Meanwhile demand should get a boost from yet another storm making its way into the eastern U.S. AccuWeather.com notes in a March 19 forecast that "A double-barreled storm will spread wet snow and travel disruptions from parts of Tennessee and Kentucky to coastal New Hampshire and Maine."
East values favor losses despite load support
Next-day power prices in the East were mixed to ultimately lower Monday despite calls for mostly elevated Tuesday demand.
At next-day markets, power prices at PJM West rose by more than $10 with deals in the mid- to high $40s, while New York Zone G deals were down by roughly $4 on the session and were quoted in the low $30s. New York Zone A noted losses of less than $1 with power priced in the mid- to high $20s.
Day-ahead markets in the Northeast advanced despite slack demand forecasts. Transactions at the New England Mass hub, New York Zone A, Zone G and Zone J rose by $1 to $6 from March 16 with power trades averaging $55.57, $28.93, $32.83 and $39.21, respectively.
Demand is set to diverge in the Northeast. Load in New England may top out at 16,350 MW on Monday and 16,190 MW on Tuesday, while demand in New York could crest at 19,122 MW on Monday and 19,234 MW on Tuesday.
On the other hand, load in the mid-Atlantic is expected to rise. Demand in the PJM Mid-Atlantic region should near highs of 35,594 MW on Monday and 37,764 MW on Tuesday, while load in the PJM Western region might touch peaks of 52,094 MW on Monday and 53,792 MW on Tuesday.
Midwest markets notch gains with strong load forecasts
Robust Tuesday demand forecasts gave a boost to power markets in the Midwest on Monday. Most of the action was focused at PJM AEP-Dayton, where power changed hands in the mid-$40s, up more than $10 from March 16.
Looking at load, peak demand in the PJM AEP region may near 16,755 MW on Monday and 16,790 MW on Tuesday, while load in the PJM ComEd region should post highs of 11,516 MW on Monday and 12,154 MW on Tuesday.
Texas markets firm amid declining demand forecasts
Next-day trading activity in Texas saw little change Monday as gains were limited by expectations for subdued Tuesday demand.
The Electric Reliability Council of Texas expects load to run up to 41,893 MW on Monday and 37,595 MW on Tuesday. However, next-day deals at ERCOT North managed to remain on the positive side of the ledger with prices up less than $1 in the mid-$20s.
On the other hand, day-ahead markets ticked lower. DAMs at ERCOT Houston, ERCOT North, ERCOT South and ERCOT West fell $4 to $7 from March 16 with prices averaging $25.48, $25.98, $25.67 and $25.66, respectively.
Most western power markets flounder; South Path-15 nudges higher
With the exception of South Path-15, hubs in the West saw losses Monday despite firm Tuesday demand forecasts.
Demand in California is called to hit 27,430 MW on Monday and 27,521 MW on Tuesday. Supported by load, power prices at South Path-15 added roughly $3 on the session with deals done in the low $40s.
Conversely, packages in the Northwest eased by less than $1 with Mid-Columbia dailies changing hands in the high teens to low $20s while power at the California-Oregon Border hub was traded in the mid-$20s.
In addition, Southwest markets saw flat to predominantly lower moves. Palo Verde transactions were heard in the low to mid-$20s, shedding close to $1 from March 16, while Mead packages were priced in the mid- to high $20s, dropping about $3 on the session.
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.