Energy consumption in Texas and the US Plains states will hit new records this week

July 19 (Reuters) – Electricity consumption in Texas and other central U.S. states is expected to hit all-time highs in the coming days as homes and businesses ramp up their air conditioners to relieve themselves from the heat , regional power grid operators said on Tuesday.

Network operators have started taking steps to ensure they have enough resources to meet growing demand as temperatures soar into the triple digits in the United States and the cost of providing electricity increases for utility companies.

The United States is expected to use record amounts of electricity in 2022 due primarily to increased economic demand and population growth in the Sun Belt states covered by the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) and the Southwest Power Pool (SPP) and in the southeastern United States. . Read more

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The temperature in Oklahoma City is expected to hit 111 degrees Fahrenheit (44 degrees Celsius) on Tuesday, which would be the hottest day in a decade there. Houston is expected to reach 100 F (38 C) on Wednesday and Thursday. Both cities normally average 94 F (34 C) at this time of year, according to federal data.

ERCOT, which operates the grid for more than 26 million customers representing about 90% of the state’s electric load, on Monday won approval from state environmental regulators to allow power plants to exceed their load limits. atmospheric pollution.

Last week, ERCOT responded to the request in part by urging customers to save energy to avoid taking much bigger steps to reduce usage, like rotating blackouts. Read more

SPP, which operates the grid for nearly 18 million people in 17 states from North Dakota to Texas, asked its members to postpone maintenance of some critical equipment like power lines and power plants. This is a common measure that network operators take to ensure that resources will be available during periods of high demand.

ERCOT said power consumption reached a preliminary level of 79,039 megawatts (MW) on Monday, surpassing the previous record of 78,419 MW on July 12, and would reach 80,318 MW on Tuesday and 81,480 MW on Wednesday. Read more

One megawatt can power about 200 homes on a hot Texas summer day.

Electricity prices at the ERCOT North Hub, which includes Dallas, jumped to $220 per megawatt hour (MWh) on Tuesday from $144 on Monday. That compares to an average of $74 so far this year, $141 in 2021 and a five-year average (2017-2021) of $56.

Power consumption forecast by SPP is expected to reach 53,760 MW on Tuesday, which would break the current all-time high of 52,028 MW on July 15. read more

The extreme weather conditions are reminiscent of the February 2021 freeze that left millions of Texans without power, water and heat for days during a deadly storm as ERCOT worked to prevent a grid collapse after an outage unusually large production.

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Reporting by Scott DiSavino; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Jonathan Oatis

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