Texas sets record for power demand amid heat wave

ABC News

(NEW YORK) — Power demand reached a new record in Texas on Sunday as a June heat wave persisted in the Southwest, according to the state’s grid operator. Temperatures are supposed to soar into the triple digits again on Monday.

Despite the record-high power demand, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, or ERCOT, said it had enough supply and did not need to call for any conservation to maintain electricity.

At around 5:15 p.m., power demand in the state reached 74,917 megawatts, which was a record-breaking electric demand for Texas. The previous record was set on Aug. 22, 2019, when power demand reached 74,820 MW, according to ERCOT.

Despite the fact that power stayed on, the demand for electricity this weekend was unusual. The highest demand for electricity usually happens later in the summer, during the hotter months of August and September. Plus, major electricity demand is more likely to happen during a weekday, when more office buildings are at capacity.

The National Weather Service issued a heat advisory for 246 of the state’s 254 counties on Sunday afternoon. A number of counties were also under an excessive heat warning, as they experienced heat indexes over 105 degrees for at least two hours.

Just last month, ERCOT issued a statement asking residents to conserve energy by setting their thermostats to 78 degrees or above and to avoid using large appliances, such as dishwashers and washers and dryers, during the hours of 3 p.m. and 8 p.m.

The request came after six power generation facilities tripped offline and lost approximately 2,900 MW of electricity on May 13, according to ERCOT.

However, no such request has been made this month, and no loss of power was reported despite higher heats.

Since June 1, cities across Texas have faced abnormally high temperatures, with San Antonio and Abilene both having daily temperatures 5 to 15 degrees higher than their average.

The heat is expected to continue into this week. Temperatures on Monday were projected to be 105 in El Paso, 104 in Laredo, 101 in Dallas and 96 in Houston.

ERCOT has not always been so reliable for Texans.

In February 2021, over 200 people died after a winter storm led to widespread and long-lasting blackouts in Texas.

After ERCOT lost control of the state’s power supply, millions were left without electricity amid the unusual weather conditions.

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