Next-day power markets across the U.S. moved in different directions Thursday, March 30, owing to conflicting cues given by varied demand forecasts and mixed but mostly muted spot gas prices.
Following reports of a less-than-expected 43-Bcf net withdrawal during the week ended March 24, the new front-month May contract closed its debut session down 4.0 cents at $3.191/MMBtu. In addition, spot natural gas markets diverged and gave little support to dailies.
AccuWeather.com notes that a storm system bringing heavy, wet snow, and some ice may move across New England from Friday, March 31, to Saturday, April 1.
Looking at the supply of nuclear generation, total plant availability slipped to 82.03% early March 30.
East dailies tick higher with gas, anchored by mixed demand
Power markets in the East notched gains Thursday as mostly higher spot gas prices helped counter support varied load forecasts.
At NEPOOL-Mass, next-day trades added close to $5 and ranged in the mid- to high $30s, while gains of about $2 were noted at New York Zone G and PJM West, where next-day trades were done in the low to mid-$30s.
New England demand is called to hit 15,000 MW on Thursday and 15,230 MW on Friday, while load in New York should top out at 18,047 MW on Thursday and 18,359 MW on Friday. Demand in the PJM Mid-Atlantic region may run up to 32,249 MW on Thursday and 31,907 MW on Friday, while load in the PJM Western region could crest at 48,202 MW on Thursday and 46,907 MW on Friday.
Midwest dailies little changed despite lackluster fundamentals
Power prices in the Midwest were firm Thursday despite a combination of slack demand forecasts and lower spot gas prices. Noting most of the session's action was MISO Indiana where trades were flat to Wednesday and were heard in the low $30s.
Load in the PJM AEP region should hit 14,915 MW on Thursday and 14,173 MW on Friday, while demand in the PJM ComEd region may peak at 12,119 MW on Thursday and 11,581 MW on Friday.
MISO declared a Severe Weather Alert for the South Region areas of AXLT, CLEC, EAI, EES, EMBA, LAFA, LAGN, LEPA and SME, effective from March 30 12 p.m. ET to 6 p.m. ET, amid a threat of tornadoes, high winds and severe thunderstorms.
Demand, gas gains fail to inspire Texas dailies
Power values at Texas next-day markets were flat Thursday despite strong Friday load forecasts and higher spot gas prices.
Next-day deals at ERCOT North were little changed from Wednesday in the low $20s.
Peak demand in ERCOT may touch 41,386 MW on Thursday and 46,927 MW on Friday.
West dailies favor losses; Mid-Columbia values hit the negatives
Low weekend demand associated with next-day schedule revisions and mixed but mostly muted spot gas prices worked to pull down power dailies in the West on Thursday.
In the Northwest, on-peak deals at Mid-Columbia slipped by around $3 and averaged in the negatives, while COB trades dropped by about $5 and spanned the single digits. Heavy-load transactions in California eased with South Path-15 shedding less than $1 in the low teens.
Southwest markets were soft as well. Palo Verde deals slipped by almost a dollar in the low to mid-teens, while Mead trades fell by about $3 in the mid-teens.
Demand in California may reach 27,547 MW on Thursday and 26,402 MW on Friday, with load expected to fall over the weekend.
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.