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AM Power Report: US dailies could see mixed midweek moves

Following a mostly lower session March 20, daily power market prices across the U.S. could chop around Wednesday, March 21, against a backdrop of varied demand outlooks for the latter part of the week.

Participants will also watch natural gas markets for price direction. After rising 2.4 cents March 20 amid lingering demand support, NYMEX April natural gas futures were extending higher early Wednesday. At about 7:10 a.m. ET, front-month gas futures were up another 2.3 cents to $2.698/MMBtu.

Amid the ongoing gains in futures, next-day gas values are likely to shift higher in many cases, with regional weather-side support also offering upside traction for prices at midweek.

Electricity load in New England is expected to top out at 16,600 MW on Wednesday and 15,700 MW on Thursday. New York demand is seen peaking at 20,100 MW on Wednesday and 18,900 MW on Thursday.

At the PJM Western region in the mid-Atlantic, demand should reach highs at 52,800 MW at midweek and 54,170 MW on Thursday. PJM Mid-Atlantic region load is likely to hit 37,530 MW on Wednesday and 38,000 MW on Thursday.

In the Midwest, demand in the PJM AEP region is likely to peak at 16,530 MW on Wednesday and 17,120 MW on Thursday. Load in the PJM ComEd near Chicago is seen hitting 12,360 MW on Wednesday and 12,030 MW on Thursday.

Demand on the ERCOT grid in Texas is called to reach 38,665 MW on Wednesday and 39,600 MW on Thursday. Load in California is expected to reach highs at 27,720 MW on Wednesday and 27,470 MW on Thursday.

At the term markets, the power offering for April predominantly added value March 20, in tandem with the gains posted by front-month natural gas futures on the session.

In the East, power for April delivery picked up more than $1 in trades in the mid- to high $30s in New England and tacked on about 20 cents in deals marked in the low $30s at PJM West. May power was transacted in the high $20s in New England and the low $30s at PJM West.

In the Midwest, PJM AD April was roughly 70 cents higher day on day in the low to mid-$30s, PJM Northern Illinois April was about 90 cents stronger in the high $20s, and MISO Indiana April power was up 60 cents on the day in the low $30s. Along the forward curve, May power was quoted in the high $20s to the mid-$30s across the three hubs.

In the South, transactions for April power were almost unchanged in the mid-$20s at ERCOT West but up 10 cents to 20 cents in the high $20s to the low $30s at the rest of the ERCOT markets. Regional trading action for May power delivery spanned the high $20s to the low $30s.

In the West, California saw front-month power values buck the dominant uptrend with a 90-cent decline to the high $20s and the low $30s at North Path-15 and a roughly 60-cent retreat to the mid-$20s at South Path-15. Prompt-month pricing climbed by 70 cents to the high teens at Mid-Columbia but fell by more than $1 to the low to mid-$20s at Palo Verde. May power prices were spotted in the low teens at Mid-Columbia and in the low $20s to low $30s elsewhere in the region.

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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.