Power markets across the U.S., excluding those in the West, saw a dearth of fundamental support Friday, April 7, as values were pressured by mixed but predominantly lower load forecasts and subdued spot gas prices.
In gas futures trading, the front-month May contract closed the workweek down 7.0 cents at $3.261/MMBtu owing to fundamental pressures signaled by predominantly lackluster weather-related demand expectations. Reflecting deflated weekend demand, most spot gas markets traded a combined three-day product spanning April 8-10 lower on the session.
Following the full return of three reactors, total U.S. nuclear plant availability rose to 80.61% early April 7 with two more outages expected in the coming days.
West values rebound on post-weekend demand expectations
Potentially higher demand associated with next-day schedule revisions worked to offset pressures from sagging gas prices and provided power markets in the West with a boost on Friday.
In the Northwest, power packages for April 9-10 flow rose by more than $10 and were exchanged in the low teens to low $20s at Mid-Columbia and the low $20s at COB. In California, gains of $5 to $6 were seen at North Path-15 and South Path-15 with power traded in the high $20s at both hubs. In the Southwest, heavy-load trades at Palo Verde rose by $5 in the high $20s to low $30s, while Mead transactions were up roughly $7 in the low $30s.
Load in California may run up to 26,807 MW on Friday and 24,908 MW on Saturday but with demand possibly recovering at the start of the new workweek on April 10.
Lackluster fundamentals fail to support East dailies
A combination of slack April 10 load forecasts and falling spot gas prices led values in the East lower on Friday.
PJM West saw the bulk of the session's next-day trading with power changing hands in the mid- to high $30s, down almost $2 from Thursday.
Mirroring slack weekend demand forecasts, day-ahead markets retreated. NEPOOL-Mass deals were down almost $10 and averaged $30.42 while New York Zone G and New York Zone J trades fell more than $5 and averaged $31.74 and $33.48, respectively. Transactions at New York Zone A limited losses to around $2 and averaged $26.55.
New England demand is projected to peak at 14,330 MW on Friday and 14,310 MW on April 10 while New York should see highs of 17,705 MW on Friday and 17,633 MW on April 10. Load in the PJM Mid-Atlantic region is seen cresting at 31,973 MW on Friday and 30,383 MW on April 10, while demand in the PJM Western region should touch 51,890 MW on Friday and 47,310 MW on April 10.
Midwest DAMs flounder with slack demand, gas losses
Day-ahead markets in the Midwest floundered Friday as traders took into account low weekend demand and a decline in spot gas prices.
Day-ahead deals at PJM AEP-Dayton and PJM Northern Illinois shed $7 to $9 from Thursday and averaged $31.53 and $29.74, respectively.
The PJM AEP region is expected to hit 16,578 MW on Friday and 14,515 MW on April 10 while the PJM ComEd region should near highs of 11,348 MW on Friday and 11,582 MW on April 10.
ERCOT DAMs biased lower with weak demand, falling gas prices
Expectations of deflated weekend demand and a retreat in spot gas prices fueled losses across day-ahead markets in Texas on Friday.
DAMs at ERCOT Houston and ERCOT South slipped by $1 to $3 and averaged $34.29 and $27.49, respectively, while ERCOT West trades eased slightly and averaged $18.64. On the other hand, ERCOT North day-ahead transactions were steady to Thursday and averaged $21.47.
Demand in ERCOT may top out at 40,446 MW on Friday and 43,879 MW on April 10.
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.