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Texas power use hits record for sixth time this summer as heat wave lingers

Texas power use hits record for sixth time this summer as heat wave lingers
© Reuters. The sun sets behind power lines above the plains north of Amarillo, Texas, U.S., March 14, 2017. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

(Reuters) -Demand for power in Texas hit a record high for a sixth time this summer on Monday as homes and business kept air conditioners cranked up to escape a lingering heat wave.

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 available to meet soaring demand.

Analysts said wind and solar power have helped ERCOT meet record-breaking demand this summer while maintaining reliability and keeping prices relatively low.

Temperatures in Houston, Texas’ biggest city, rose as high as 100.4 F (38 degrees Celsius) on Monday, according to AccuWeather.

Texas residents have worried about extreme weather since a deadly storm in February 2021 left millions without power, water and heat for days as ERCOT struggled to prevent a grid collapse.

After the state hit 11 record highs for demand last summer, ERCOT said usage hit a preliminary 83047 megawatts (MW) on Monday, which topped the current all-time high of 82,592 MW on July 18.

Monday’s peak is about 2,744 MW over last year’s demand record of 80,148 MW set in July 2022, equivalent to the amount of power generated by about three nuclear power reactors.

Monday’s demand record will likely be broken again on Tuesday with ERCOT forecasting usage will reach 84,332 MW.

One megawatt can power around 1,000 U.S. homes on a typical day, but only about 200 homes on a hot summer day in Texas.

Next-day, or spot, prices at the ERCOT North Hub, which includes Dallas, jumped to a two-week high of $250 per megawatt hour for Monday. That compares with an average of $42 so far this year, $78 in 2022 and a five-year (2018-2022) average of $66.

Real-time power prices hit nearly $400 briefly at 17:00 CT on Monday.

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