Power prices across most next-day markets across the U.S., excluding Texas, turned lower Thursday, Dec. 14, following outlooks for subdued Friday demand and mixed to lower spot gas prices.
Despite reports of a much larger-than-expected 69-Bcf net withdrawal from natural gas storage during the week ended Dec. 8, the January 2018 gas futures contract remained tethered to the downside and closed the day down 3.1 cents at $2.684/MMBtu. Spot gas markets moved mixed to lower with the exception of a few select hubs.
In other supply, total U.S. nuclear plant availability returned above the 94% mark early Dec. 14 to 94.27%.
East dailies enveloped by demand-driven losses
Mixed to lower spot gas prices and outlooks for slack Friday demand gave no support to power values in the East on Thursday.
At next-day markets, power at the New England Mass hub was priced in the low to mid-$60s, down roughly $10 from Wednesday, while New York Zone G packages were about $7 lower and changed hands in the high $40s. New York Zone A and PJM West limited losses to about $3 and saw power trade in the mid-$30s at the former and the high $30s at the latter.
Day-ahead markets, on the other hand, leaned mixed to lower. Trades at New York Zone A, Zone G and Zone J tumbled by $4 to $10 on the session and averaged $33.44, $46.00 and $46.72, respectively, while deals at the Mass hub ran the other way and added roughly $5 to average $81.35.
Demand is projected to tumble as the weekend draws near. New England load should reach 18,900 MW on Thursday and 18,600 MW on Friday, while New York demand may touch 22,226 MW on Thursday and 21,892 MW on Friday. Load in the PJM Mid-Atlantic region could hit highs of 41,740 MW on Thursday and 40,319 MW on Friday, while the PJM Western region might see peaks of 60,889 MW on Thursday and 59,816 MW on Friday.
Western power markets turn lower in revised trade
Typically lower weekend demand associated with next-day schedule revisions along with receding spot gas prices worked to pull down power prices in the region on Thursday.
In the Northwest, power packages at Mid-Columbia and the California-Oregon Border were down about $5 and spanned the mid-$20s at the former and the high $20s at the latter.
Losses of $2 to $3 were seen in the Southwest, with Palo Verde seeing power trade in the low to mid-$20s while Mead deals were done in the mid- to high $20s.
The California ISO is projecting peaks of 30,625 MW on Thursday and 29,771 MW on Friday.
Texas dailies firm despite slack demand, mixed gas prices
Sagging load forecasts and flat to lower spot gas prices could not stop next-day values in Texas from notching gains on Thursday.
Demand in Texas is called to peak at 43,295 MW on Thursday and 43,182 MW on Friday. However, next-day trades at ERCOT North were done about a dollar higher and spanned the low $20s.
Regional day-ahead markets saw flat to predominantly higher moves. ERCOT North and ERCOT West added more than a dollar with power deals averaging $23.67 and $23.68, respectively, while ERCOT Houston and ERCOT South packages were steady to the midweek and averaged $23.87 and $24.22, respectively.
Midwest markets supported as workweek draws to a close
Declining demand forecasts and softer spot gas prices provided Midwestern power markets with little to no support during a quiet Thursday session.
Grid operators in the region are calling for subdued demand, with demand in the PJM AEP region possibly topping out at 18,859 MW on Thursday and 19,566 MW on Friday, while load in the PJM ComEd region should crest at 13,760 MW on Thursday and 13,489 MW on 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 and natural gas index prices, as well as forwards and futures, visit our Commodities Pages.