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US power dailies mixed to lower in extremely thin pre-Christmas trade

Power prices were mixed to mostly lower in very thin trade Friday, Dec. 23, amid varied demand forecasts through and coming off the Christmas Day holiday. On-peak power deals in the few markets that saw action were booked for Dec. 27 flow due to office closures Dec. 26 for the Christmas holiday.

Traders also kept abreast of natural gas market activity. Losing 0.4 cent in the prior session, January 2017 natural gas futures climbed sharply Friday, settling at $3.662/MMBtu, rising 12.4 cents. The contract advanced on short-covering in extremely light trading ahead of the extended holiday weekend.

In line with the recent activity in futures, next-day gas prices were choppy to round out the workweek Friday, amid scattered regional weather support.

Most grid operators anticipate a typical drop in business-related load during the Christmas Day holiday Dec. 26 before demand swings higher again at the start of the truncated work week Dec. 27 as industrial and commercial load rebounds.

On-peak power at the NEPOOL-Mass hub in New England was assessed in the upper $40s, down about $15 on the session. Peak power at the PJM West market in the mid-Atlantic was marked in the high $20s, up about $1 from the day before.

Day-ahead markets in New England lost $15 in value to an index at $45.21, with DAM prices at New York's Zone A and G falling $7 to averages at $19.00 and $34.94, respectively.

New England load is called to reach 17,200 MW on Dec. 27, rising 200 MW from Friday. New York demand is likely to crest 21,300 MW on Dec. 27, flat to Dec. 26. PJM Western region load is seen peaking at 55,675 MW on Dec. 27, up from 2,375 MW from Friday. PJM Mid-Atlantic region load could top out at 35,700 MW on Dec. 27, down 200 MW from Friday.

Day-ahead markets in Texas eased $2.50 to $3.50 on average on the session, coming in at $20.93 at ERCOT West, $21.01 at ERCOT North, $21.46 at ERCOT South and $21.65 at ERCOT Houston.

Texas demand is expected to reach 39,850 MW on Dec. 27, little changed from Friday.

In the Midwest, forecasts from AccuWeather.com indicate that a potent storm is expected to bring blizzard conditions across the central U.S. during the Christmas weekend.

Load in the PJM AEP region could reach 16,300 MW on Dec. 27, easing 850 MW from Friday, while demand in the ComEd region near Chicago is anticipated to reach 13,800 MW on Dec. 27, increasing 600 MW from Friday.

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.