Power values across the country were mixed Thursday, Feb. 2, amid conflicting signals provided by mostly higher load forecasts and softer spot natural gas prices.
The report of an 87-Bcf net withdrawal during the week ended Jan. 27, which matched consensus estimates but was much lower than historical averages, helped the front-month March natural gas futures contract reverse prior losses to close the day up by 1.9 cents at $3.187/MMBtu. With the exception of deals done at TETCO-M3 and Transco Zone 6 New York, values across regional spot gas markets sagged.
According to a forecast from AccuWeather.com, "a weak storm will produce a swath of light wintry precipitation and slippery travel over parts of the midwestern and northeastern United States this weekend."
Strong demand keeps Midwest markets afloat
Forecasts calling for elevated Friday demand countered lower spot gas prices and provided a boost to Midwest markets on Thursday.
Power at MISO Indiana traded at a day-on-day premium of around $2 and ranged in the low to mid-$30s.
The Midwest could see elevated demand with the PJM AEP region called to see load hit highs at 18,279 MW on Thursday and 19,500 MW on Friday, while the PJM ComEd region should see peaks of 13,177 MW on Thursday and 13,448 MW on Friday.
ERCOT dailies notch gains with load support
Power prices in Texas notched modestly higher Thursday as projections for robust Friday demand offset slack spot gas prices.
ERCOT North saw next-day day power exchanged in the mid-$20s, up around a dollar from midweek.
Day-ahead markets saw mixed to predominantly higher moves. DAMs at ERCOT North and ERCOT West added more than $2 from Wednesday and averaged $27.89 and $27.76, respectively, while trades at ERCOT South were steady to the day prior and averaged $28.47. Defying the trend were DAMs at ERCOT Houston, which slipped by almost $2 and averaged $29.60.
Peak demand in Texas may run up to 41,163 MW on Thursday and 43,237 MW on Friday.
East markets mixed despite fundamental support
Power prices in the East were mixed Thursday amid mostly elevated demand forecasts and mixed to predominantly higher spot gas prices.
At NEPOOL-Mass, next-day deals fell almost $2 and ranged in the low to mid-$40s while PJM West saw trades add roughly $2 and span the low $30s.
Day-ahead markets were biased higher with New York Zone G and New York Zone J adding around $4 and averaging $42.75 and $43.09, respectively, while day-ahead trades at New York Zone A rose by about a dollar and averaged $30.70. DAMs at NEPOOL-Mass eased but were little changed overall from midweek and averaged $42.10.
Demand in New England is expected to top out at 17,350 MW on Thursday and 17,200 MW on Friday while New York is called to see peaks of 20,875 MW on Thursday and 20,899 MW on Friday. On the other hand, demand in the mid-Atlantic may rise ahead of the weekend. Load in the PJM Mid-Atlantic region should crest at 37,269 MW on Thursday and 38,851 MW on Friday, while demand in the PJM Western region should peak near 57,956 MW on Thursday and 60,665 MW on Friday.
West values retreat in revised trade
A dearth of support due to lower spot gas price and forecasts for low weekend demand associated with next-day schedule revisions all worked to pull down dailies in the West on Thursday.
Losses of around $3 were noted in the Northwest with Mid-Columbia and COB trades both heard in the high $20s to low $30s. In California, on-peak deals at South Path-15 fell about $3 and were seen in the high $20s to low $30s. Southwestern on-peak power values fell $2 to $3 from midweek and spanned the low $20s at both Palo Verde and Mead.
California demand is projected to reach highs of 29,698 MW on Thursday and 29,520 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, natural gas and coal index prices, as well as forwards and futures, visit our Commodities pages.