Texas electric grid system ERCOT experiencing record demands in heat wave – Demand for electricity in Texas hit a record on Monday as consumers cranked up their air conditioners to escape a heat wave that is currently baking much of the Southeastern United States, according to the state’s power grid operator.
High temperatures in Houston, the state’s biggest city by population, hit 100 degrees Fahrenheit (38° Celsius) on Monday and could go higher on Tuesday, according to AccuWeather forecasts. The normal high in Houston is 96 F at this time of year.
The Electric Reliability Council of Texas, which manages the flow of electricity for about 90% of the state’s customers, can generate a maximum capacity of about 78,000 megawatts of electricity for peak demand, according to the ERCOT website.
An all-time peak demand record was set between 4 and 5 p.m. Monday when electricity demand reached 74,531 megawatts, according to an ERCOT social media post.
ERCOT called out for preservation energy as the demand keeps on increasing this week.
One megawatt can power about 1,000 U.S. homes on average, but as few as 200 during periods of peak demand.
Despite high demand, next-day power prices at the ERCOT North hub traded well below their one-year high of $209.25 per megawatt hour last week at just $70 for Friday and $80.25 for Monday. ERCOT has more than 78,000 MW of generating capacity to meet demand this summer, but warned low reserves could force it to issue alerts urging customers to conserve energy. ERCOT has said its planning reserve margin for this summer was a historically low 7.4% because several generators have been retired even though demand is rising.
“We are expecting high demand for electricity this week, especially for the next two days,” said Reliant spokeswoman Pat Hammond in an email. This is not an unusual request this time of year, when the state usually experiences the highest temperatures in July and August. “We made similar requests for customers to voluntarily conserve energy last summer as well,” Hammond said.
Cause of Shortage
ERCOT and Reliant attribute the increased demand to the high temperatures across much of the state.
A heat advisory is in effect for counties in east, south, southeast, central and west-central Texas until 7 p.m. Tuesday, the National Weather Service said.
That advisory affects more than half the state’s counties, including the following in the Big Country: Brown, Callahan, Coleman, Fisher, Haskell, Jones, Nolan, Runnels, Shackelford, Taylor and Throckmorton.
The advisory means that temperatures in the Abilene area will reach 100 to 106 degrees Tuesday, with a heat index as high as 109 degrees. And, do not look to escaping to the Texas coast for relief. The NWS service is predicting Tuesday high temperatures of 110 at Galveston and 106 at Corpus Christi. Conditions will feel even worse with expected high heat indexes of 112 in Galveston and 115 at Corpus Christi on Tuesday.
Some relative relief is expected Wednesday through Friday with a predicted high temperature of 99 degrees each day for Abilene. There also is a 30 percent chance of rain Tuesday night and 20 percent on Wednesday, according to the NWS website.
What should you do as good citizen?
As we are going through a stage of crisis, you should go a mile further to prevent any extra wastage. Here are some tips for the good cause:
- Run the washer and dryer early in the morning or at night.
- Skip the oven during the day and instead use the microwave, stove top or grill to cook.
- Keep the blinds and curtains closed during the day to reduce solar heat gain by as much as 50%. Direct sunlight can increase AC demand by as much as 30%, Reliant said.
- When away from the house for at least four hours, increase the thermostat setting three or four degrees on the central air conditioning system.