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AM Power Report: Dailies could end week jumbled with load outlooks

Power dailies could end the truncated workweek mixed Friday, Feb. 23, on the back of varied demand expectations coming off the weekend.

Participants will also keep their eyes on natural gas markets for power pricing direction. Ending 2.5 cents lower in the Feb. 22 session, NYMEX March natural gas futures were solidly lower early Friday ahead of the opening bell. At 6:40 a.m. ET, the contract was down 7.6 cents to $2.558/MMBtu on profit taking and fresh selling ahead of the weekend.

Most cash natural gas markets are likely to leak lower Friday, with the recent weakness in futures and the inclusion of the lower-load weekend days in the trading package offering the typical pressure on values.

On the demand side, forecasts indicate diverging load at the start of the next workweek on Feb. 26.

In the Northeast, demand in New England is projected to peak at 16,000 MW on Friday and 15,840 MW on Feb. 26, while load in New York is expected to reach highs at 18,959 MW on Friday and 19,034 MW on Feb. 26. In the Mid-Atlantic, PJM Western region demand is forecast to top out at 49,656 MW on Friday and 50,747 MW on Feb. 26, while PJM Mid-Atlantic load is seen cresting at 34,660 MW on Friday and 33,040 MW on Feb. 26.

In the Midwest, demand in the PJM AEP region is called to hit highs at 15,550 MW on Friday and 15,706 MW at the start of the next business week, while load in PJM ComEd is projected to see highs at 12,124 MW on Friday and 11,782 MW on Feb. 26.

In the South, load in Texas is called to reach 42,306 MW on Friday and 41,579 MW on Feb. 26.

In the West, California demand should near 28,150 MW on Friday and 26,050 MW on Feb. 24, but could find some upside momentum by Feb. 26 amid the typical post-weekend recovery of full industrial and commercial demand.

In forward trade, March power had a mixed but predominantly weak showing Thursday, as losses at the natural gas futures arena implied a reduction in fueling costs.

In the East, front-month power pricing deflated by roughly $2 to the high $30s in New England and fell by 95 cents to the low $30s at PJM West. Looking ahead, price action for April power was pegged in the mid- to high $30s in New England and in the low $30s at PJM West.

In the Midwest, PJM Northern Illinois March was off more than $1 on the day in the high $20s, while month-ahead power was assessed in the low $30s in deals about 80 cents lower on the day at PJM AD and 90 cents softer at MISO Indiana. April power was similarly quoted in the high $20s to the low $30s overall.

In the South, transactions for March power delivery defied the broad decline by logging a near 10-cent advance to the low and mid-$20s at ERCOT West and holding almost unchanged in the high $20s to the low $30s at the rest of the ERCOT markets. Regional trading activity for April power spanned the high $20s to the low $30s.

In the West, California saw prompt-month power values slump by 40 cents to the high $20s at North Path-15 and retreat by 70 cents to the low $30s at South Path-15, while Mid-Columbia March was flat day on the day in the high $10s and Palo Verde March was more $1 lower in the mid-$20s. Pricing for April power was spotted in the low $10s at Mid-Columbia and in the low to high $20s elsewhere in the region.

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