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AM Power Report: Dailies look to firm demand as New Year's approaches

Following a mixed session Wednesday, firm demand forecasts should help support power dailies across the U.S. on Thursday, Dec. 29, despite a slight retreat in the natural gas markets.

After the January 2017 natural gas contract expired with a 16.9-cent gain to a two-year high in the previous session, the new front-month February 2017 contract pulled back overnight, last trading 7.1 cents lower at $3.827/MMBtu.

With natural gas offering little support, power dailies could look to demand to underpin prices as cooler weather across most of the country begins to drive up heating demand.

Decreased liquidity will also be noted as trading desks thin ahead of the New Year's holiday.

In the East, New England could see load top 17,800 MW on Thursday and 17,290 MW on Friday, while load in New York is poised to hit 20,824 MW on Thursday and 20,982 MW on Friday. In the Mid-Atlantic, the PJM Western region should see demand reach 55,079 MW on Thursday and 55,961 MW on Friday, while the PJM Mid-Atlantic region looks to load peaks of 36,337 MW on Thursday and 37,862 MW on Friday.

In the Midwest, demand in the PJM AEP region is expected to reach 16,727 MW on Thursday and 17,256 MW on Friday, while load in the ComEd region is poised to reach 13,006 on Thursday and 13,086 MW on Friday.

Elsewhere, the ERCOT grid operator sees load reaching 38,553 MW on Thursday and 39,564 MW on Friday.

On the West Coast, demand in California is expected to reach 28,507 MW on Thursday and 27,891 MW on Friday.

Looking further out, term power products were boosted higher by rallying natural gas futures.

In the East, deals for January 2017 delivery at the NEPOOL Mass hub were pegged near $50.85, up 8.2% on the day, while PJM West saw front-month action above $56, up 7.9% on the day.

In the Midwest, January 2017 deals across the region were spotted in the upper $40s to low $50s, with the PJM AEP-Dayton hub sporting a modest $2 premium to PJM Northern Illinois but near equal footing with MISO Indiana. However, daily gains were mixed with the AD hub up 8.2%, the NI hub up 8.3% and Indiana up just 2.3%.

In Texas, ERCOT saw January 2017 deals at the North location fetching the mid-$30s, up 5.1% on the day, near even with the first-quarter 2017 product.

In the West, Northwest markets saw gains with Mid-Columbia up 12.4% to near $41. In California, January 2017 deals at South Path-15 were spotted in the low $40s, about $2.50 below North Path-15, but with both markets little changed on the day.

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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, natural gas and coal index prices, as well as forwards and futures, visit our Commodities Pages.