A surge of power generation demand in the Southeast and in other areas to some extent, prompted by the arrival of more summer-like conditions, along with Friday's 22.9-cent rally by June futures helped the cash market to realize double-digit price gains across the board Monday. The return of industrial load from its customary weekend hiatus also contributed to market firmness.

The upticks ranged from a little less than a dime to nearly 70 cents. They were strongest in the West and Midcontinent/Midwest areas, which must have been influenced more by the screen strength of Friday because they had relatively little cooling load outside the desert Southwest, where Tuesday's highs are expected to approach 100 degrees.

Western quotes also got a boost from the weekend removal of high-linepack operational flow orders by California's two biggest distributors, SoCalGas and PG&E.

Over on the East Coast, meanwhile, Florida Gas Transmission also removed an OFO-like Overage Alert Day Saturday, but in the case of the OAD it had been due to low linepack and high demand. That was a factor in Florida Gas Zone 3 and the Florida citygate seeing Monday's two smallest increases.

"Hot and dry will be the weather descriptors for the Southeast tomorrow," said The Weather Channel's (TWC) website. Most of the increase in temperatures to highs around 90 degrees will be occurring in the region's eastern half, but 80s readings in the western end also should have air conditioners revving up. Highs in the 80s also will be showing up in the Ohio and mid-Mississippi Valleys, TWC said.

Heating load has not entirely disappeared. Lows in the 40s are due again Tuesday in sections of the Northeast, Midwest and Rockies. And Omaha, NE, was forecast to go from a very warm high of 90 Monday to a 75 peak Tuesday (also with a low in the 40s).

A Gulf Coast producer sales representative said her company did about the usual amount of sales to power generation interests Monday, but its perspective was limited because it can sell directly to only a couple of electric plants in the western end of the South. But the rising heat levels in the eastern South undoubtedly was a reason why the company saw a substantial increase of its volumes into Southern Natural Gas. "We put gas into the pipe but can't track where the buyer takes it from there," the trader explained.

She was unaware of any last-minute bidweek trading getting done Monday, "but then we didn't get any new requests for June gas."

She commented that it's a "very quiet" market for now, but said she wouldn't be surprised if activity starts picking up soon.

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