Power consumption in Texas reached an all-time high on Tuesday as customers turned on their air conditioners to escape a lingering heat wave. Earlier this week, households and businesses saved energy to help avert rolling blackouts.

The Electric Dependability Council of Texas (ERCOT), which controls the system for more than 26 million customers, or around 90 percent of the state’s power demand, warned over the weekend that it would have to adopt emergency measures, such as rotating blackouts, on Monday to ensure reliability.

However, conservation measures and thunderstorms cut energy use enough to allow available supplies to satisfy record demand.

Extreme weather reminds us of the February 2021 freeze, which left millions of Texans without electricity, water, or heat for days due to a devastating storm as ERCOT battled to avert a system collapse after an abnormally significant proportion of generation went down.

AccuWeather predicts that temperatures in Houston, Texas’ largest metropolis, will hit 104 degrees Fahrenheit (40 degrees Celsius) on Wednesday. According to official records, it would be the warmest day in the city since August 2015, when highs reached 106 degrees Fahrenheit, and compared to an average high of 94 degrees Fahrenheit for this time of year.

ERCOT estimated electricity usage reached 78,419 megawatts (MW) on Tuesday, breaking the previous high of 78,264 MW set on Monday, and will rise to 78,963 MW on Wednesday. more info

On an average day, one megawatt can power around 1,000 US households, but only approximately 200 dwellings on a hot summer day in Texas.

Power rates at the ERCOT North Hub, which includes Dallas, rose to a near 13-month high of $280 per megawatt hour on Wednesday, up from $130 the day before. This compared to an average of $70 so far this year, $141 in 2021, and a five-year average of $56 (2017-2021).

Source: Reuters

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