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UK POWER: Prompt prices increase on cold expectations

London — Forecasts for colder-than-average temperatures sent prompt power pricesin the UK and neighboring European markets higher, but fairly healthy supplymargins due to strong wind generation limited gains in the UK.

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Both the baseload and peakload power for Thursday delivery rose to aone-week high, adding more than GBP3 on the day to close at GBP52.35/MWh andGBP57.50/MWh respectively before S&P Global Platts 11 am London market close.

The spot UK auction for the day-ahead market settled higher and in linewith over-the-counter prices at GBP52.14/MWh for the base and GBP57.47/MWh forpeak, according to N2EX and APX exchanges data Wednesday.

"[The prompt] is up again based on France and the NBP [gas market]," atrader said. "France is pulling the peak [prices]."

He also said the nuclear unit outage in Belgium is further tighteningmargins in the continental European markets, which have been spooked byforecasts for cold weather next week.

Market sources said French week-ahead baseload power prices, typicallybelow the UK and peak counterparts, were heard at Eur168/MWh, more than 58%above the UK peak week-ahead price of Eur101.10/MWh Wednesday.

UK power prices this week have traded below their French peers as France,with its reliance on electric heating, is highly sensitive to coldtemperatures, while strong wind power output in the UK kept the systemwell-supplied.

According to National Grid, peak wind power production is expected torebound to nearly 8 GW Thursday, after dipping slightly to 7.6 GW Wednesday.

Peak power demand is set to jump to 51.2 GW Thursday, compared with 48.6GW predicted for Wednesday and nearly 2 GW higher than actual demand of 49.1GW Tuesday, the grid data showed.

By around midday Wednesday, wind power generation of nearly 7.4 GWdecreased the use of gas-fired power plants, which dropped below 15 GW, whilecoal and nuclear stations generated 6.4 GW and 6.8 GW respectively.