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US power dailies sag with demand as volume thins ahead of holiday weekend

Daily power prices across the U.S. continued to unravel at most locations Thursday, March 29, as demand looks to decline into the Good Friday holiday March 30 and remain soft through the Easter weekend.

Slightly higher natural gas prices failed to offer much support to power dailies as the front-month May contract reversed prior-day losses to end the session 3.5 cents higher at $2.733/MMBtu following the report of a smaller-than-expected but still above-average withdrawal from natural gas storage in the week ended March 23.

East markets swing lower with demand

A big drop in demand forecasts for Friday helped usher eastern U.S. power markets lower Thursday as the holiday looks to shutter commercial and industrial demand.

Power dailies at both the New England Mass hub and PJM West in the mid-Atlantic were pegged in the mid-$20s, off more than $2 at the Mass hub and down more than $5 at PJM.

Day-ahead deals for Friday delivery also swung lower, with the Mass hub down almost $6 at an average of $24.65. In New York, day-ahead deals ranged from $22.50 at Zone A to $26.39 at Zone G and $32.68 at Zone J.

New England could see load top 13,750 MW on Friday, while load in New York is poised to hit 16,701 MW on Friday, each down almost 1,000 MW on the day.

In the mid-Atlantic, the PJM Western region demand should hold steady at peaks just below 47,500 MW both Thursday and Friday, while demand in the PJM Mid-Atlantic region looks to peak near 29,640 MW on Friday, down about 1,700 MW on the day.

West markets mixed after series of schedule revisions

As traders in the western U.S. turned attention to the start of the next workweek, the price of power for the first two days of April was mixed Thursday as the expected rebound in demand after the weekend offered some support.

Markets in the West on Thursday traded an April 1-2 product, as markets will be closed Friday, March 30.

In the Northwest, deals at the California-Oregon Border hub added less than $1 to trade in the upper-$10s, while trades at Mid-Columbia declined less than $1 with action in the mid-$10s.

Farther south, Palo Verde added almost $2 to trade in the low $20s, near parity with Mead, which declined almost $1 on the day. In California, South Path-15 also saw next-day deals in the low $20s, recovering almost $4 on the day.

Texas power markets follow demand forecasts lower

The price of power in Texas moved lower in step with demand forecast as the approaching weekend begins to sap demand on the Electric Reliability Council of Texas grid.

At the next-day markets, ERCOT North saw trades in the mid- to upper $20s in light volume, down $2 to $3 on the day. Day-ahead markets also softened with demand with deals for March 30 flow pegged at averages of $24.92 at ERCOT North, $25.98 at ERCOT South, $27.41 at ERCOT Houston and $23.55 at ERCOT West.

The ERCOT grid operator sees load struggling to top 40,000 MW on Friday, down more than 1,500 MW on the day.

Day-ahead markets in Midwest hold steady with load outlook

Power prices in the Midwest held mostly steady Thursday, reflecting overall flat demand leading into the final day of the workweek.

Day-ahead prices averaged $27.04 at the AEP-Dayton hub, down $4.60 on the day, while the Northern Illinois market near Chicago saw day-ahead trades near $28.90 on average, off less than $1 on the day.

Demand in the PJM AEP region is expected to reach 14,802 MW on Friday, down less than 100 MW on the day, while load in the ComEd region is poised to reach 10,902 MW on Friday, down about 200 MW on the day.

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.