(Reuters) -Power use in Texas hit a preliminary all-time high on Tuesday as homes and businesses cranked up air conditioners to escape a lingering heat wave, according to data from the state’s power grid operator.
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, said it has enough resources to meet current demand.
Extreme weather is a reminder of the 2021 February freeze 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.
Although overall U.S. power demand is projected to ease in 2023 after hitting a record high in 2022, rising economic and population growth is expected to keep boosting electric use in Sun Belt states like Texas.
AccuWeather forecast high temperatures in Houston, the biggest city in Texas, will hit 102.2 F (39 degrees Celsius). That compares with a normal high of 93.2 F (34 degrees Celsius)for this time of year.
The Electric Reliability Council of Texas said power use reached a preliminary 80,789 megawatts (MW) at 5 p.m. CST, topping the grid’s previous record of 80,148 MW set on July 20, 2022.
The record came after ERCOT forecast and missed record-breaking demand on several days since mid-June, due in part to storm-related power outages that reduced usage and after consumers heeded the grid operator’s June 20th call to conserve energy.
ERCOT projected peak demand will keep setting new records, climbing to 83,040 MW on Wednesday.
(Reporting by Ashitha Shivaprasad, Harshit Verma in Bengaluru and Scott DiSavino; Editing by Leslie Adler and David Gregorio)
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