Many cash point averages in the Northeast saw increases of $1.50 to nearly $5 on Monday for Tuesday delivery as the region continued to dig out from Sunday's blizzard, which exhibited winds in excess of 60 mph and dumped from a few inches to more than two feet of snow from the Carolinas up through New England.

Elsewhere around the country, western points gained or declined by a few pennies, while most averages along the Gulf Coast and in the Midcontinent declined by a few cents.

One Northeast utility trader said prices are remaining pretty firm but any sort of warm-up would result in a "significant break" to lower prices. "The New York City stuff on Transco remain pretty pricey on a day-to-day basis. It has been colder than normal, so storage was hit pretty hard in December," he told NGI. "Any moderation in weather will likely bring these values down. There is a lot of market area gas. A lot of the gas coming from the Rockies has been getting soaked up on its way to the Northeast because it has been cold. Our storage is OK, but we're using all of our capacity every day. As soon as the weather moderates, we'll back off a little bit, as I'm sure everyone will, which will trigger a drop in prices."

As for trends, the trader said market area gas is still pretty strong. "There is still a lot of it out there. For December we actually bought monthly market-area gas, which is kind of unique for us. We used to do everything long haul on Tennessee Pipeline out of Texas and Louisiana. For January it turned around. The market area gas was not as competitive because Dominion went up in price, so we ended up going back to Tennessee long-haul."

On Monday Tennessee Pipeline had no operational flow orders (OFO) in place, but it was significantly curtailing excess nominations for Dec. 27 intraday cycle gas flow at its Libertyville compressor station in New Jersey (St. 325) and its W. Winfield compressor station in New York State (St. 245). Both of those stations are within Tennessee's transportation Zone 5.

Algonquin Gas Transmission was also restricting nominations at its Cromwell, CT, and Stony Point, NY, compressor stations. Curtailments at those two locations have been commonplace in recent days.

Texas Eastern Transmission noted it continues to experience "high demand on its system," and warned that it may be forced to balance short TABS-1 pools as required. The pipeline refused to accept any increases in receipts nominations on its Leidy line in New York State and its Philadelphia Lateral downstream of its Chester Junction compressor station for gas day December 27.

On Sunday, Maritimes & Northeast Pipeline got into the act, and posted the following notice on its electronic bulletin board, effective through the end of 2010: "Due to high demand on the system, Maritimes & Northeast Pipeline (M&N) has limited operational flexibility to manage imbalances. As a result, effective immediately, M&N requires all delivery point operators to keep actual daily takes out of the system less than or equal to scheduled quantities regardless of their cumulative imbalance position. All receipt point operators are required to keep actual daily receipts into the system greater than or equal to scheduled quantities regardless of their cumulative imbalance position."

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