Next-day power markets across the U.S. were mixed Friday, Aug. 4, with values at most locations seeing no support from declining load forecasts and lower spot gas prices.
Losses continued at the natural gas futures complex Friday with the front-month September contract shedding 2.6 cents to settle at $2.774/MMBtu. In addition, spot gas markets traded for the combined delivery days of Aug. 5-7 with slack weekend demand pulling down values across the board.
According to a forecast from AccuWeather.com, "[T]he northwestern United States heat wave will ease slightly this weekend but linger well into next week."
In other supply, total U.S. nuclear plant availability decreased to 97.18% early Aug. 4.
West dailies rebound on demand prospects
Potentially strong weekday demand forecasts associated with next-day schedule revisions helped power dailies in the West stay on the positive side of the ledger Friday but with declining spot gas prices keeping the uptick in check.
In the Northwest, power deals at Mid-Columbia and the California-Oregon Border added $4 to $5 on the session and were quoted in the low to high $40s at the former and the mid-$40s at the latter.
In California, South Path-15 on-peak deals were steady to Thursday and spanned the low $40s.
Gains of $3 to $4 were seen in the Southwest with Palo Verde deals ranging in the mid-$30s to high $40s and Mead transactions spanning the high $30s to mid-$40s.
The California ISO expects demand to top out at 43,945 MW on Friday and 38,642 MW on Saturday. However, load may rebound at the start of the workweek Aug. 7 as business-related demand tends to increase after the weekend.
East markets favor losses on falling load outlooks, slack gas prices
A lack of support from declining demand forecasts and sagging gas prices left power markets in the East lower on Friday.
At the New England Mass hub, power deals were down by about $7 from Thursday and were done in the mid-$20s, while PJM West trades slipped by roughly $2 in the high $20s.
Owing to slack weekend demand, day-ahead markets in New York tumbled. New York Zone A fell by more than $15 from Thursday and averaged $19.54, while New York Zone G and New York Zone J dropped $7 to $10 on the session and averaged $27.02 and $27.96, respectively.
Grid operators in the Northeast and mid-Atlantic are forecasting subdued load to kick off the new workweek. Demand in New England may hit highs of 19,450 MW on Friday and 16,800 MW on Aug. 7, while load in New York should near peaks of 25,867 MW on Friday and 21,408 MW on Aug. 7. The PJM Mid-Atlantic region is expected to see demand run up to 48,668 MW on Friday and 39,187 MW on Aug. 7, while the PJM Western region should see load top out at 57,354 MW on Friday and 52,989 MW on Aug. 7.
Midwest dailies tick lower with waning gas prices
Lower regional spot gas prices countered little support from mixed load forecasts and led daily power markets in the Midwest lower Friday.
Most of the session's next-day action was MISO Indiana, where power was traded in the high $20s, down about a dollar from Thursday.
Mixed load may be in store for the region by the start of the new workweek. The PJM AEP region should see demand reach 17,742 MW on Friday and 16,328 MW on Aug. 7, while the PJM ComEd region is expected to see load touch highs of 11,675 MW on Friday and 12,912 MW on Aug. 7.
Texas markets retreat with weekend demand
Subdued weekend load forecasts and lower spot gas prices worked to depress day-ahead markets in Texas on Friday.
The Electric Reliability Council of Texas is calling for load to crest at 65,626 MW on Friday and 62,524 MW on Aug. 7.
Losses gripped day-ahead deals in Texas with ERCOT North and ERCOT West tumbling by $4 to $6 and averaging $26.16 and $24.72, respectively, while ERCOT Houston and ERCOT South shed $1 to $3 and averaged $31.05 and $28.42, respectively.
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