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US power markets close workweek with gains; ERCOT North tumbles

Editor's Note: Please be advised that S&P Global Market Intelligence will no longer publish daily articles on price trends in the U.S. natural gas, electricity and emissions markets beginning June 1, 2018. Pricing data for these energy markets will continue to be available on the Market Intelligence platform.

With the exception of ERCOT North, next-day power markets across the U.S. swung higher Friday, May 18, supported by higher demand forecasts.

After posting gains the day prior, the front-month June natural gas futures contract closed the workweek in shallow negative territory at $2.847/MMBtu, down 1.2 cents.

In other supply, total U.S. nuclear plant availability rose early May 18 to 91.93%.

East dailies move higher with demand support

Elevated May 21 load forecasts gave next-day markets in the East a push higher Friday.

At next-day markets, power delas at PJM West rose more than $5 from Thursday and ranged in the high $30s to low $40s.

Trading for lower-load Saturday, day-ahead markets favored the downside. DAMs at the New England Mass hub, New York Zone G and New York Zone J shed $2 to $5 on the session and averaged $21.86, $21.71 and $22.10, respectively, while DAMs at New York Zone A fell more than $10 and averaged $19.07.

Demand is expected to rise as the new workweek unfolds. Load in New England may top out at 13,060 MW on Friday and 15,100 MW on May 21, while demand in New York should crest at 16,572 MW on Friday and 18,864 MW on May 21. The PJM Mid-Atlantic region is expected to see load hit 30,881 MW on Friday and 35,500 MW on May 21, while demand in the PJM Western region may near highs of 49,270 MW on Friday and 54,141 MW on May 21.

Western power markets swing higher on post-weekend load prospects

Strong weekday demand associated with next-day schedule revisions fueled gains in the West on Friday.

In California, on-peak power prices at South Path-15 rose more than $5 and ranged in the low $20s. In the Southwest, Palo Verde and Mead packages added $3 to $4 on the session and were pegged in the high teens at the former and the high teens to low $20s at the latter. In the Northwest, heavy-load deals at Mid-Columbia gained roughly $4 and spanned the single digits to high teens, while the California-Oregon Border hub saw power trade in the mid- to high teens, rising by about $9 from Thursday.

The California ISO is calling for highs of 27,674 MW on Friday and 25,956 MW on Saturday but with demand possibly rebounding on May 21 as load tends to rise after the weekend.

Texas dailies tumble with falling load outlooks

Slack May 21 demand forecasts led next-day power markets to favor losses Friday.

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas should see peaks of 64,861 MW on Friday, 58,453 MW on Saturday and 58,884 MW on May 21.

Following outlooks for slack Saturday demand, most day-ahead markets ticked lower. DAMs at ERCOT North fell more than $15 on the session and averaged $36.00, while losses of $6 to $7 were noted at ERCOT Houston and ERCOT South, where day-ahead power prices averaged $36.00 and $34.48, respectively. On the other hand, day-ahead deals at ERCOT West added roughly $1 from Thursday and averaged $28.19.

ERCOT said that it recorded another all-time May peak demand record of 63,661 MW between 4 p.m. and 5 p.m. CT on May 17.

Midwest markets enter weekend with load boost

Hubs in the Midwest spent a quiet Friday session supported by expectations of elevated May 21 demand.

Load in the PJM AEP region should reach peaks of 15,258 MW on Friday and 17,234 MW on May 21, while demand in the PJM ComEd region may touch highs 11,349 MW on Friday and 11,825 MW on May 21.

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.