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US day-ahead power markets start workweek mostly higher; East values fall

Day-ahead power markets kicked off the holiday-truncated workweek biased higher Tuesday, Feb. 20, as values reflected mostly higher load forecasts.

In natural gas trade, after closing the previous week with a modest loss, the front-month March contract rebounded Tuesday, adding 5.8 cents to settle at $2.616/MMBtu.

In other supply, the spring refueling and maintenance season is already beginning to cut into available nuclear generation, as total U.S. nuclear plant availability fell to 92.16% early Feb. 20 following the loss of three reactors.

The National Weather Service said cold weather and snow is expected to continue across parts of the western U.S., supporting heating demand in some areas.

Strong load forecasts lift Texas prices

Day-ahead markets in Texas ticked higher Tuesday boosted by outlooks for elevated midweek demand.

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas is calling for peaks of 40,487 MW on Tuesday and 44,993 MW on Wednesday. Supported by demand, day-ahead values at ERCOT Houston, ERCOT North, ERCOT South and ERCOT West rose more than $5 and averaged $28.56, $28.46, $27.99 and $28.32, respectively.

Midwest markets rise with demand, weather support

A combination of strong load outlooks and cold weather lifted day-ahead deals in the Midwest on Tuesday. Deals at PJM AEP-Dayton and PJM Northern Illinois added $2 to $3 on the session and averaged $29.74 and $33.77, respectively.

Load is set to rise by the middle of the workweek. Demand in the PJM AEP region should peak near 15,132 MW on Tuesday and 15,395 MW on Wednesday, while load in the PJM ComEd region may hit 11,734 MW on Tuesday and 12,457 MW on Wednesday.

East markets move lower with choppy load forecasts

Eastern day-ahead markets ticked lower Tuesday as values were pressured by outlooks for mixed midweek demand.

In terms of demand, load in New England may top out at 15,400 MW on Tuesday and 15,200 MW on Wednesday, while demand in New York should crest at 18,660 MW on Tuesday and 18,686 MW on Wednesday.

Day-ahead markets in the Northeast turned lower with the New England Mass hub, New York Zone A, New York Zone G and New York Zone J shedding $1 to $5 on the session and averaging $22.99, $19.07, $26.92 and $27.63, respectively.

In the mid-Atlantic, load in the PJM Mid-Atlantic region may hit peaks of 32,552 MW on Tuesday and 32,397 MW on Wednesday, while load in the PJM Western region should reach highs of 49,222 MW on Tuesday and 50,327 MW on Wednesday.

PJM West day-ahead prices were pegged at $25.58.

Western power markets kick off workweek supported by cold weather

Daily power markets across the western U.S. spent a quiet Tuesday session finding little to no support in subdued midweek load forecasts though parts of the region were engulfed in cold weather.

The California ISO is calling for demand to peak at 29,933 MW on Tuesday and 29,708 MW on Wednesday.

In addition, the California ISO declared Restricted Maintenance Operations for the Southern California region Feb. 20 at 7:24 a.m. PT to 10 p.m. PT due to higher-than-forecast load and natural gas curtailments.

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.