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AM Power Report: US power dailies could chop around at midweek

Next-day power markets could see choppy to higher moves at midweek Wednesday, March 29, as traders look to mixed demand forecasts for the end of the workweek.

Participants will also watch natural gas markets for pricing direction. Rising 4.4 cents in the previous trading day, the NYMEX April natural gas futures contract was 3.3 cents higher early Wednesday ahead of the opening bell and the afternoon expiration of the contract. At last glance, the May contract was up 3.8 cents to $3.215/MMBtu in front of the Thursday release of the latest round of weekly storage data.

In step with any sustained gains in the futures market at midweek, many next-day natural gas prices are likely to tick higher in the Wednesday session.

Looking at load, demand in New England is seen peaking at 15,080 MW on Wednesday and 15,100 MW on Thursday. Load in New York is likely to top out near 18,800 MW on Wednesday and 17,900 MW on Thursday.

In the Mid-Atlantic, PJM Western load is seen reaching 47,850 MW on Wednesday and 47,650 MW on Thursday, while PJM Mid-Atlantic region demand could top out at 31,600 MW at midweek and 31,800 MW on Thursday.

In the Midwest, demand in the PJM AEP region is expected to hit 14,900 MW on Wednesday and 15,100 MW on Thursday, with load in the PJM ComEd region near Chicago likely to reach 11,640 MW on Wednesday and 11,440 MW on Thursday.

Demand in Texas should reach highs near 44,840 MW on Wednesday and 41,840 MW on Thursday, according to the ERCOT grid operator. The California ISO expects load to hit 28,300 MW on Wednesday and 27,780 MW on Thursday in the Golden State.

At the forward markets, power prices were generally aimed higher March 28, with the session's gains in futures suggesting rising fueling costs for U.S. power generators.

In the Northeast, New England and New York Zone G April power deals were inked in the high to mid-$30s, respectively. April power at the PJM West hub in the Mid-Atlantic was marked in the mid-$30s.

In the Midwest, April parcels at the PJM AD hub and MISO Indiana were eyed in the mid-$30s, with deals for the month at Northern Illinois quoted in the low $30s.

In Texas at the ERCOT North hub, April and second quarter power delivery packages were melded in the upper $20s.

On the West Coast, April power at South Path-15 in California was reported in the low $20s, with second quarter deals running a tad higher in the mid-$20s.

In the Northwest, power for April at Mid-Columbia was quoted on either side of $8, with second quarter deals seen in the low teens. In the Southwest at Palo Verde, power parcels for April and the second quarter were reported in the low and mid-$20s, respectively.

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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.