Power prices across the U.S. moved in differentdirections Thursday, Oct. 6, as values reflected conflicting signals from slackFriday demand forecasts and support from mixed to predominantly higher spotnatural gas prices.
Despite pressure from a storage report outlining abetter-than-expected80-Bcf net injectionduring the week ended Sept. 30, the front-month November natural gas futures contractmanaged to stay on the positive side of the ledger and closed the session up bya scant 0.8 cent to settle at $3.049/MMBtu.
In spot gas trading, markets around the country, withthe exception of deals done in the Northeast, saw gains of more than 10 centson the session.
Westmarkets lean flat to higher in revised trade
Robust Friday demand outlooks alongside higher spotgas prices offset pressures from subdued Saturday load outlooks and helpedsupport power markets in the West, with the exception of hubs in the Northwest.
In California, North Path-15 saw power trade a dollarhigher in the mid-$30s while South Path-15 transactions added about $2 in themid- to high $30s. In the Southwest, heavy-load deals at Palo Verde were uproughly $2 and ranged in the mid-$20s.
On the other hand, Northwest markets leaned lower,with Mid-Columbia slipping by about a dollar in the low to mid-$20s, while COBdailies shed close to a dollar and changed hands in the high $20s.
Demand in California could see a Friday high at 32,428MW, rising more than 1,100 MW from Thursday.
Midwestmarkets mixed amid conflicting fundamentals
Projections of waning Friday demand and support fromspot gas prices sent power packages in the Midwest in different directionsThursday.
PJM AEP-Dayton saw power trade a dollar lower fromWednesday in the mid-$30s, while MISO Indiana saw deals adding about $4 on thesession in the high $40s to low $50s.
Demand in the Midwest is set to fall ahead of theweekend. Load in the PJM AEP region may top out at 15,273 MW on Friday, downroughly 250 MW from Thursday, while demand in the PJM ComEd region could crestat 12,395 MW on Friday, off almost 600 MW Thursday's forecast peak.
Eastmarkets biased lower with weak demand, cheap gas
Mixed to predominantly lower moves defined priceactivity in the East on Thursday owing to a combination of weak Friday demandoutlooks and modest losses in spot gas prices.
Pressured by weak demand forecasts, next-day deals atNEPOOL-Mass slipped by almost $2 and were pegged in the mid-$20s while tradesat PJM West shed roughly $2 from midweek with power exchanged in the mid-$30s.Defying the downtrend were transactions at New York Zone A, which added about$3 and spanned the mid-$30s.
Northeastern day-ahead markets were mixed but mostlymuted. DAMs at New York Zone A added about a dollar and averaged $36.77, whileDAMs at New York Zone G and New York Zone J were flat to Wednesday and averaged$22.89 and $23.02, respectively. Conversely, DAMs at NEPOOL-Mass shed close toa dollar and averaged $25.94.
Grid operators in the Northeast and mid-Atlanticproject declining demand. Friday load in New England could reach 14,050 MW,down 1,080 MW from Thursday, while demand in New York should touch a Fridayhigh at 18,273 MW, down more than 300 MW from Thursday. Load inthe PJM Mid-Atlantic region is poised to hit 30,451 MW on Friday, fallingroughly 950 MW from Thursday, while the PJM Western region may see demand peakat 50,499 MW on Friday, stumbling more than 1,400 MW from the previous day.
Slackdemand pushes ERCOT dailies lower
Forecasts calling for a sizeable drop in Friday demandsent power values in Texas tumbling Thursday but with support from higher spotnatural gas prices limiting losses.
ERCOT is forecasting load to fall by more than 8,000MW from Thursday to a Friday high near 50,382 MW. Unsupported by sluggish loadoutlooks, next-day deals at ERCOT North fell by more than $5 and were done inthe mid-$20s.
Texas day-ahead markets floundered as well. DAMs atERCOT North, ERCOT South and ERCOT West fell by more than $10 and averaged$22.92, $31.63 and $23.91, respectively, while DAMs at ERCOT North minimizedlosses to less than $5 and averaged $36.77.
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