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AM Power Report: Dailies could see choppy moves ahead of weekend

Day-ahead power markets could shift in varied directions in the week's closing session Friday, Dec. 16, as traders look to mixed demand outlooks for the start of the fresh workweek and extended losses in natural gas.

Declining 10.6 cents in the prior session, front-month January 2017 natural gas futures were extending those losses ahead of the Friday open on pre-weekend profit taking. The contract was eyed most recently at $3.361/MMBtu, down another 7.3 cents, as more moderate weather outlooks continue to outweigh the first reported triple-digit storage withdrawal of the season.

In line with the ongoing softness in futures, next-day natural gas values are likely to leak lower Friday, with the inclusion of the typically lower-load weekend days in the trading product also expected to offer pressure.

According to an outlook from AccuWeather.com, following a blast of frigid temperatures, snow and ice will extend from the central U.S. to the East this weekend.

Demand in New England is seen peaking at 20,110 MW on Friday and 19,000 MW on Dec. 19, while load in New York is expected to reach 23,300 MW on Friday and 21,850 MW on Dec. 19. In the Mid-Atlantic, PJM Western load is likely to crest at 62,950 MW on Friday and 65,600 MW on Dec. 19, while PJM Mid-Atlantic region demand could top out at 42,500 MW on Friday and 41,650 MW on Dec. 19.

In the Midwest, demand in the PJM AEP region is expected to top out near 21,450 MW on Friday and 20,560 MW on Dec. 19. Load at the PJM ComEd region near Chicago is called to peak at 14,770 MW on Friday and 15,470 MW on Dec. 19.

Demand in Texas should top out near 39,175 MW on Friday and 51,850 MW on Dec. 19, according to the ERCOT grid operator. California load is expected to crest at 29,550 MW on Friday and 28,100 MW on Saturday before likely recovering on Dec. 19.

Term power markets around the country were mostly lower in the Dec. 15 session, with the losses in natural gas futures signaling weaker fueling costs for U.S. power generators.

In the Northeast, New England January 2017 power parcels traded in the upper $60s, with New York's Zone G parcels running in the mid-$60s. January 2017 delivery power at the PJM West hub in the Mid-Atlantic was quoted in the high $40s.

In the Midwest, January 2017 power at PJM AD and MISO Indiana was pegged in the low and mid-$40s, respectively, while January 2017 packages at Northern Illinois were seen in the high $30s.

At the ERCOT North hub in Texas, January 2017 and first quarter 2017 power was priced in the low $30s.

On the West Coast, January 2017 power packages at South Path-15 in California were seen in the upper $30s, with first quarter 2017 deals inked in the mid-$30s. In the Northwest, power for the month of January 2017 at Mid-Columbia was eyed in the low $30s, with deals for the first quarter of 2017 marked in the upper $20s. Palo Verde power for January 2017 and the first quarter of 2017 was seen in the high $20s.

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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.