Next-day power markets across the U.S. moved in different directions Thursday, Oct. 5, in spite of calls for mostly elevated Friday demand and firm spot natural gas prices.
Despite reports of a less-than-expected 42-Bcf net injection during the week ended Sept. 29, the front-month November contract notched a 1.7-cent loss to settle at $2.923/MMBtu. Excluding deals done in the East, most spot gas markets ticked higher and supported power prices.
Looking at load, most regions, with the exception of some parts of the East, project lower demand towards the end of the workweek. Eyes are also turning toward Tropical Storm Nate, which is set to cross the Yucatan Peninsula on a projected path across the Gulf of Mexico and into the U.S. Gulf Coast by Oct. 9.
Following increased output at two nuclear reactors, total U.S. nuclear plant availability nudged to 91.36% early Oct. 5, however, more refueling outages are expected in the coming weeks.
East values muted on slack fundamentals
Daily power markets in the East were mixed but mostly muted Thursday following pressures from subdued demand forecasts and lower spot gas prices.
At next-day markets, the New England Mass hub saw deals add less than $1 in the low $30s, while trades at PJM West eased and were done in the high $30s.
Mixed to lower moves were noted across day-ahead markets in the Northeast with the Mass hub, New York Zone A and New York Zone J shedding $1 to $3 from Wednesday and posting averages of $31.26, $23.74 and $33.32, respectively. On the other hand, deals at New York Zone G added close to a dollar and averaged $29.99.
Demand is projected to fall in the Northeast as the workweek draws to a close. Load in New England may reach 15,850 MW on Thursday and 14,700 MW on Friday, while demand in New York may touch 19,466 MW on Thursday and 18,468 MW on Friday.
Conversely, mid-Atlantic load forecasts are mixed with demand in the PJM Mid-Atlantic region possibly topping out at 35,680 MW on Thursday and 35,205 MW on Friday, while demand in the PJM Western region should crest at 50,667 MW on Thursday and 52,333 MW on Friday.
Midwest dailies slip despite strong demand, higher gas prices
Expectations of elevated Friday demand and an increase in spot gas prices could not inspire higher moves at Midwestern power markets Thursday.
Noting most of the action was MISO Indiana, where power changed hands in the mid- to high $30s, down roughly a dollar on the session.
Grid operators are projecting higher demand towards the end of the workweek with load in the PJM AEP region possibly hitting highs of 15,956 MW on Thursday and 16,651 MW on Friday, while the PJM ComEd region should note peaks of 12,178 MW on Thursday and 12,197 MW on Friday.
Calif., Northwest values ease; Southwest dailies rise in revised trade
Low weekend demand associated with next-day schedule revisions worked to pull down hubs in California and the Northwest on Thursday but with strong Friday demand forecasts and higher spot gas prices supporting values in the Southwest.
On-peak trades in the Northwest fell $2 to $4 from the midweek and were heard in the low $20s at Mid-Columbia and the high $20s at the California-Oregon Border. In California, heavy-load packages at South Path-15 slipped less than $1 and ranged in the mid-$30s.
Defying the trend were power markets in the Southwest with Palo Verde trades steady to Wednesday in the mid- to high $30s while Mead deals were a dollar higher and were posted in the mid- to high $30s as well.
The California ISO is projecting highs of 31,103 MW on Thursday and 32,281 MW on Friday.
Strong load forecasts, gas gains fail to lift Texas prices
Day-ahead values in Texas faltered Thursday despite robust demand forecasts and a rise in spot gas prices.
The Electric Reliability Council of Texas is forecasting peaks of 55,109 MW on Thursday and 55,324 MW on Friday.
However, most day-ahead markets waved aside the load forecast with ERCOT Houston slipping by roughly $9 to an average of $35.64, while ERCOT South and ERCOT West deals were down $1 to $3 on the session and averaged $32.04 and $25.45, respectively. Deals at ERCOT North managed to limit losses to less than $1 and averaged $25.93.
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