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US power markets start workweek pressured by dueling fundamentals

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US power markets start workweek pressured by dueling fundamentals

Outlooks for mostly subdued Tuesday demand clashed with support from higher spot gas prices and left next-day power markets in the U.S. searching for direction Monday, June 5.

After notching gains in early trade, the front-month July natural gas futures contract reversed lower and closed the day down 1.7 cents at $2.982/MMBtu. On the other hand, spot gas markets renewed their trek to the upside, which supported most power markets.

A forecast from notes that the northwestern U.S. may be in for a period of hot weather as heat begins to build up going into midweek.

Following the return of several units, total U.S. nuclear plant availability rose to 92.22% early June 5.

Northwest, Southwest values gain ground; Calif. dailies retreat

Excluding deals done in California, power prices in the West leaned mixed to higher Monday as support from an increase in spot gas prices was able to offset expectations of declining Tuesday demand.

Gains of $3 to $5 were noted in the Northwest, with power at Mid-Columbia traded in the low to high $20s while deals at the California-Oregon Border spanned the low to mid-$30s. Flat to lower moves were posted in the Southwest, with Palo Verde trades up by around a dollar in the low to mid-$30s while Mead transactions were steady to June 2 in the mid-$30s.

Defying the trend were hubs in California which added around $2 from June 2, with power deals exchanged in the low $30s at both North Path-15 and South Path-15.

The California ISO is projecting peaks of 33,069 MW on Monday and 32,949 MW on Tuesday.

East markets biased higher amid conflicting fundamentals

Daily power prices in the East were biased higher Monday despite conflicting cues offered by sluggish load outlooks and a rise in spot gas prices.

In the Northeast, deals at New York Zone A added around $2 in the high $20s, while trades at the New England Mass hub were flat to June 2 and ranged in the low $20s. Transactions at PJM West ran the other way and shed $2 in the high $20s.

Biased higher moves were noted across day-ahead markets in the Northeast. DAMs at New York Zone A surged by more than $20 from June 2 and averaged $32.72, while New York Zone G and New York Zone J trades were up by about $3 to $5 and averaged $23.88 and $24.78, respectively. DAMs at the Mass hub were flat to June 2 and averaged $20.74.

Load in New England could crest at 14,540 MW on Monday and 14,140 MW on Tuesday, while demand in New York should top out at 19,142 MW on Monday and 18,104 MW on Tuesday. Load in the PJM Mid-Atlantic region is expected to reach 33,271 MW on Monday and 32,309 MW on Tuesday, while demand in the PJM Western region may touch 54,562 MW on Monday and 51,238 MW on Tuesday.

Midwest dailies flounder with load outlooks

Declining load forecasts pressured power dailies lower in the Midwest on Monday but with higher gas prices helping to limit losses.

On-peak power at PJM AEP-Dayton fell by roughly $4 on the session in the high $20s, while deals at MISO Indiana shed slightly more than a dollar and ranged in the low $30s.

Load is set to fall in the Midwest with the PJM AEP region forecasting highs of 16,836 MW on Monday and 16,273 MW on Tuesday, while the PJM ComEd region should near peaks of 13,474 MW on Monday and 12,425 MW on Tuesday.

Texas DAMs falter despite load support, gas gains

Day-ahead markets in Texas ignored strong load forecasts and an uptick in spot gas prices and preferred to move lower Monday.

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas is calling for demand to run up to 53,482 MW on Monday and 56,345 MW on Tuesday. However, DAMs at ERCOT Houston, ERCOT North, ERCOT South and ERCOT West fell by $1 to $3 from June 2 and averaged $32.63, $26.66, $30.34 and $27.34, respectively.

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, natural gas and coal index prices, as well as forwards and futures, visit our Commodities Pages.