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AM Power Report: Prices could be varied on easing demand, vacillating gas

Afternudging lower Monday,next-day powervalues could be mixed with a downside bias Tuesday, July 19, aspredominantly declining demand forecasts for midweek combine with recentsideways trading activity at the natural gas futures complex.

Atlast glance, August natural gas futures were trading 4.4 cents higher at$2.766/MMBtu in early trade, erasing the 3.4 cents lost in the previous session as analystsexpect record-high inventories ahead of winter despite a string ofbelow-average weekly injections and forecasts pointing to much hotter weatherthrough the end of July.

Onthe demand side, load outlooks for midweek are jumbled but predominantlypointed lower.

Inthe Northeast, demand in New England is expected to top out at 19,450 MW onTuesday and 18,870 MW on Wednesday, while load in New York is projected toreach highs at 25,530 MW on Tuesday and 24,514 MW at midweek. Farther south,PJM Western region load is seen peaking at 70,050 MW on Tuesday and 68,976 MWon Wednesday, while PJM Mid-Atlantic demand should near 48,467 MW on Tuesdayand 45,375 MW on Wednesday.

Inthe Midwest, demand in the PJM AEP region is called to reach 20,344 MW onTuesday and 20,216 MW on Wednesday, while load in PJM ComEd will likely seehighs at 19,124 MW on Tuesday and 17,675 MW at midweek.

Inthe South, ERCOT demand could defy the wider decline to touch a high near65,821 MW on Tuesday and 67,515 MW on Wednesday.

Inthe West, CAISO load is poised to crest at 37,577 MW on Tuesday and 39,546 MWon Wednesday, also running against the broad downtrend.

Atthe term markets, price action for August power was choppy in the week'sopening session Monday, as the seesaw activity at the natural gas futures arenaof late drove fueling costs in diverging directions.

Inthe East, prompt-month power transactions shed more than $1 to average in thehigh $30s at both NEPOOL-Mass and PJM West, while power deals for deliveryfurther out to September were spotted in the low $30s at both hubs.

Inthe Midwest, PJM AD August slid nearly 70 cents to the high $30s and PJMNorthern Illinois August fell by more than $1 to the mid-$30s, as MISO IndianaAugust deflated by almost $2 to an index also in the high $30s. Further alongthe forward curve, power for September was quoted in the low $30s overall.

Inthe South, the ERCOT markets saw pricing for front-month power lifted byroughly $9 across the board to indexes spread in the low to high $70s, asregional price activity for September power spanned the low $30s.

Inthe West, power trades for August advanced by about 10 cents to the high $30sat both North Path-15 and South Path-15 in California, as similar transactionsclimbed by around $1 at Mid-Columbia and Palo Verde to average in the high $20sand also in the high $30s, respectively. Looking ahead, deals for Septemberpower were done in the mid- to high $30s in California and in the high $20s tothe low $30s elsewhere in the region.

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Market prices and included industry data are currentas of the time of publication and are subject to change. For more detailedmarket data, including power andnatural gasindex prices, as well as forwards and futures, visitour Commodities Pages.