(Reuters) – Power use in Texas will break records again this week as economic growth boosts overall use and homes and businesses crank up their air conditioners to escape another heat wave, the state’s power grid operator projected on Monday.
The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), which operates the grid for more than 26 million customers representing about 90% of the state’s power load, has said it has enough resources to meet demand.
Last week, the grid operator met demand in part by asking customers to conserve energy to avoid taking bigger actions to reduce usage, including rotating outages.
Extreme weather is a reminder of the February freeze in 2021 that left millions of Texans without power, water and heat for days during a deadly storm as ERCOT scrambled to prevent a grid collapse after an unusually large amount of generation shut.
AccuWeather forecast temperatures in Houston, the biggest city in Texas, will rise from 98 degrees Fahrenheit (37 Celsius) on Monday to 101 F (38 C) on Wednesday. That compares with a normal high of 94 F (34 C) for this time of year.
ERCOT forecast power use will top the current record of 78,419 megawatts (MW) on July 12 by reaching 80,003 MW on Monday, 80,778 MW on Tuesday and 81,778 MW on Wednesday.
One megawatt can power around 1,000 U.S. homes on a typical day, but only about 200 homes on a hot summer day in Texas.
Power prices at the ERCOT North Hub, which includes Dallas, slid to a one-week low of $144 per megawatt hour (MWh) for Monday from $160 for Friday. That compares with an average of $79 so far this year, $141 in 2021 and a five-year (2017-2021) average of $56.
The average in 2021 was inflated by price spikes to $9,000 per MWh during the February freeze. Graphic: Texas power demand to soar to record high this year Texas power demand to soar to record high this year, https://graphics.reuters.com/TEXAS-POWER/ERCOT/gkplgzymyvb/chart.png
(Reporting by Scott DiSavino; editing by Jonathan Oatis)
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