Texas power use breaks record in heat wave -ERCOT


(Reuters) – Power use in Texas hit a preliminary all-time high on Tuesday as homes and businesses cranked up air conditioners to escape a three-week-old heat wave, according to data from the state’s power grid operator.

The high temperature in Houston, the biggest city in Texas, hit a high of 100 degrees Fahrenheit (38 Celsius) on Tuesday, Weather.com reported. That compared with a normal high of 93.2 degrees Fahrenheit (34 degrees Celsius) for this time of year.

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) said power use reached a preliminary 80,828 megawatts (MW) at 6 p.m. CST, topping the grid’s previous record of 80,148 MW set on July 20, 2022.

Peak demand is expected to set another record at 83,040 MW on Wednesday.

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.

ERCOT had forecast demand would set records on several prior days since mid-June but it did not do so until Tuesday, in part because consumers heeded the grid operator’s June 20th call to conserve energy.

Extreme weather was 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 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.

(Reporting by Ashitha Shivaprasad, Harshit Verma in Bengaluru and Scott DiSavino; Editing by Leslie Adler, David Gregorio and Cynthia Osterman)

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