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AM Power Report: US power dailies could shift lower ahead of weekend

Day-ahead power markets around the U.S. could tip lower in many cases Friday, Feb. 16, amid softer demand forecasts after the holiday weekend and weaker natural gas prices. Markets are closed Feb. 19 in observance of Presidents' Day

Ending just 0.7-cent lower Feb. 15, NYMEX March natural gas futures were extending the loss early Friday ahead of the opening bell. At 7:05 a.m. ET, the front-month contract was pegged at $2.555/MMBtu, down another 2.5 cents on profit taking ahead of the long weekend.

With the inclusion of the lower-load weekend days as well as the Feb. 19 holiday in the trading package Friday, next-day natural gas prices could stumble at most major U.S. consuming hubs, offering little upside traction for power values.

In terms of load, New England demand should crest at 15,660 MW on Friday, 16,000 MW on Feb. 19 and 15,350 MW on Feb. 20. New York load is expected to reach highs at 20,000 MW on Friday, 18,720 MW on Feb. 19 and 18,930 MW on Feb. 20.

In the Mid-Atlantic's PJM Western region, load could reach 52,560 MW on Friday, 47,865 MW on Feb. 19 and 48,920 on Feb. 20. PJM Mid-Atlantic region demand could come in at peaks near 33,430 MW on Friday, 32,200 MW on Feb. 19 and 31,950 MW on Feb. 20.

In the Midwest, PJM AEP region load is called to peak at 16,130 MW on Friday, 16,120 MW on Feb. 19, and 14,640 MW on Feb. 20. Demand at PJM ComEd near Chicago is likely to hit 12,650 MW on Friday, 11,700 MW on Feb. 19 and 12,200 MW on Feb. 20.

Load in Texas is anticipated to reach 37,665 MW on Friday, 39,840 MW on Feb. 19 and 38,100 MW on Feb. 20. California demand is likely to top out at 27,120 MW on Friday and 25,530 MW on Feb. 17.

Along the forward curve, power values for March were mixed Feb. 15, with the day's marginal loss in futures implying varied fueling costs for U.S. power generators.

In the East, March deals in New England ran in the low $40s, while parcels for the month at New York's Zone G traded in the mid- to high $30s. In the Mid-Atlantic at PJM West, March delivery power was assessed in the low $30s.

In the Midwest, March power parcels at the PJM markets were priced in the low $30s at the AD hub and in the high $20s at the Northern Illinois hub. Power for March was eyed in the low $30s at MISO Indiana.

In the South, March power was reported in the upper $20s at ERCOT North. Second-quarter packages at the market ran in the low $30s.

On the West Coast, at the South Path 15 market in California, March parcels were pegged in the high $20s. March power at Mid-Columbia traded in the upper teens, while similar packages at Palo Verde were transacted in the low $20s.

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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 index prices, as well as forwards and futures, visit our Commodities pages.