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ERCOT Says Summer Demand Will Break Records & Hike Electric Prices

Demand for power this summer is expected to shatter previous records, ERCOT revealed in a report released Monday. But officials with the state’s grid operator say they anticipate having enough generation to meet the soaring need. Still, Texans have been asked recently to make a few sacrifices amid unseasonably hot weather.

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) made the request Friday after rising temperatures caused a drastic spike in power demand. The organization said the demand was so high that it caused six power facilities to go offline unexpectedly. According to CNN, the plant failures resulted in a loss of about 2,900 megawatts of generation—enough electricity to power roughly 580,000 homes.

May is a shoulder month (when generation facilities intentionally go offline to perform maintenance before summer), but ERCOT asked companies to delay maintenance to ensure demand will not outstrip supply rightnow. The request comes more than a year after a winter storm caused statewide power outages.

Summer Electricity Demand - Higher Prices

Higher Electricity Pries Expected This Summer

The Summer Seasonal Assessment of Resource Adequacy (SARA) report said Texans could use as much as 77,317 megawatts during a day at the season’s peak, well above the previous record of about 74,800 megawatts set in August 2019. One megawatt is enough to power about 200 homes on a hot summer day. Officials with the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, however, said that as much as 91,392 megawatts will be available.

The report comes the same day ERCOT extended its warning of potential emergency conditions through the end of the week. That will be 17 straight days that the grid operator has told power generators to defer maintenance and produce power so there is enough to meet increased demand due to hot weather that has blanketed most of Texas this month.

On Friday, conditions on the grid became so tight that ERCOT asked Texans to conserve power through the weekend. To keep up with the demand, ERCOT ordered that all power generators that were able to work to come online to help. The conservation notice ended on Sunday and was not extended into this week as of Monday afternoon.

Though ERCOT does not expect blackouts this coming week, they have called on consumers to reduce their power usage during peak hours: 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. Texas residents are asked to avoid uses large appliances, such as washers and dryers, during the time period, and set their thermostats to 78 degrees or above.

Last weekend, temperatures in Texas reached the 90s on Saturday and low 100s Sunday, roughly 10 to 15 degrees above than average.