CEE POWER-Prompt dips ahead of holidays
* Wind forecast at nearly 18 GW
* Hungary at a premium on outages, tight cross-border capacity
* Front-year contracts ease
PRAGUE, Dec 23 (Reuters) - Strong winds and low consumption ahead of the Christmas holiday weighed down Czech and Slovak spot power prices while Hungary remained at a premium due to outages and limited cross border capacities, traders said on Monday.
Czech and Slovak electricity for Tuesday fell 79 percent to 4.93 euros ($6.74) per megawatt-hour (MWh) and the Hungarian equivalent declined 77.3 percent to 18.52 euros.
In the over-the counter market, Slovak spot power fell nearly 49 euros to 0.50 euros, the Hungarian day ahead lost 4 euros to 56 euros, while German prices turned negative.
"Negative prices happen when it is cheaper for generators to pay users to consume power rather than cease production when the grid is over supplied," one trader said.
The trader also said there was a limited amount of capacity for power on the Austrian and Hungarian border. "That and the outage in Bulgaria explains why spot prices are so high in Hungary".
Bulgaria's sole nuclear power plant Kozloduy said it shut down one of its two 1,000 megawatt reactors on Friday due to a technical fault in a non-nuclear part of the unit.
Another trader said that Czech and Slovak spot prices traded above Germany due limited supply related to an outage at a 500 megawatt unit reactor at Dukovany nuclear power plant
Data from Thomson Reuters Point Carbon showed forecasts for wind power output at nearly 18 gigawatts (GW) and the solar power generation at around 1 GW on Tuesday.
Day ahead on Poland's POLPX exchange fell to 110.54 zlotys ($36.34) from 135.87 zlotys.
Further along the curve, the Czech front year contract shed 10 cents to 36.35 euros and the Hungarian electricity for delivery next year lost 25 cents to 43.60 euros.
The benchmark German Cal '14 contract fell 3 cents to 37.30 euros in afternoon trade on Germany's EEX exchange.
Brent crude oil held steady above $111 a barrel on Monday amid slow activity ahead of the Christmas holiday as investors focused on ongoing refinery strikes in France and internal strife in South Sudan.
European Union carbon futures gained 0.41 percent to 4.89 euros a tonne in afternoon trade. ($1 = 0.7315 euros) ($1 = 3.0421 Polish zlotys) (Reporting by Michael Kahn and Maja Zuvela; Editing by William Hardy)
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