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Most power dailies sag; East markets notch gains

Next-day power markets in the U.S., excluding those located in the East, faltered Thursday, Jan. 26, as prices at most locations ignored forecasts for mostly elevated Friday demand and higher spot natural gas prices.

Despite reports of a less-than-expected 119-Bcf net withdrawal during the week ended Jan. 20, the front-month February natural gas contract continued to advance and rose 5.0 cents to settle at $3.382/MMBtu with options expiring.

AccuWeather.com forecasts that "along with the return of colder, more seasonable air, two storms will bring snow to the eastern United States into next week."

East dailies rise on gas gains, weather support

Cold weather support, increased heating demand and higher spot natural gas prices worked to push next-day power packages in the East higher on Thursday.

At next-day markets, power at NEPOOL-Mass was traded in the mid- to high $30s, up from a midweek index of $32.50, while trades at PJM West were done in the low $30s, rising from a prior-day index of $29.00.

Day-ahead markets in the Northeast also moved higher. DAMs at New York Zone G and New York Zone J added about $3 on the session and averaged at $35.39 and $35.67, respectively, while trades at NEPOOL-Mass gained around a dollar and averaged $34.72. Running contrary to the trend were DAMs at New York Zone A, which slipped by about $2 from the midweek and averaged $24.77.

Grid operators in the Northeast are calling for mixed demand by the end of the workweek. New England demand could hit highs of 16,400 MW on Thursday and 16,550 MW on Friday while load in New York is likely to near peaks of 20,211 MW on Thursday and 20,120 MW the following day. However, mid-Atlantic load outlooks are pointed higher. The PJM Mid-Atlantic region should see peak demand reach 35,539 MW on Thursday and 36,861 MW on Friday while the PJM Western region may see load touch highs of 55,756 MW on Thursday and 56,329 MW on the final day of the workweek.

Midwest values tick lower despite fundamental support

Higher load forecasts and an increase in spot gas prices could not stop power dailies in the Midwest from sliding lower Thursday. MISO Indiana noted most of the session's trading action with on-peak deals done in the high $30s to low $40s, for a daily loss of more than $3.

Regional load forecasts indicate increased demand. The PJM AEP region could see load top out at 17,166 MW on Thursday and 17,551 MW on Friday while demand in the PJM ComEd region should crest at 12,955 MW on Thursday and 12,994 MW on Friday.

Strong demand, rising gas prices fail to boost Texas markets

Power dailies in Texas defied robust Friday demand forecasts and higher spot gas prices to move lower Thursday.

ERCOT demand may run up to 42,763 MW on Thursday and 44,741 MW on Friday. However, next-day deals at ERCOT North were uninspired and fell about a dollar in the high $20s.

Regional day-ahead markets also ran counter to load outlooks with prices at most major locations shedding less than $1 and averaging $26.68 at ERCOT Houston, $26.08 at ERCOT North, $26.32 at ERCOT South and $26.13 at ERCOT West.

West dailies flounder in revised trade

Slack weekend demand along with declining Friday load associated with next-day schedule revisions pressured power prices in the West lower Thursday but with modest gains in spot gas prices limiting the downside.

On-peak deals in California saw the biggest losses with power at South Path-15 noting a daily loss of roughly $5 and spanning the low to mid-$30s. Southwest markets followed suit. Heavy-load trades at Palo Verde and Mead were both done in the high $20s, each down about $3 from midweek. Losses of close to $3 were noted in the Northwest with Mid-Columbia and COB trades spanning the low to mid-$30s.

The California ISO is forecasting peaks of 30,287 MW on Thursday and 29,473 MW on Friday with load expected to drop even further by 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.