Texas energy demand is expected to hit record highs this week as the state’s economic and population growth puts a strain on its power grid amidst an intense heatwave.
Monday and Tuesday saw the state break the previous single-day June energy usage record of 70,257 megawatts, clocking 72,386 megawatts and 72,785 megawatts, respectively, according to the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), which operates the state’s independent power grid.
Accuweather forecasters predict a “dangerous heatwave” will last well into the middle of next week, with 100-plus temperatures over consecutive days in the state’s biggest cities. With everyone in the state trying to stay cool, energy demand is poised to break the all-time record of 74,820 megawatts in a single day.
Christy Penders, a spokesperson for ERCOT, claimed that the agency “expects sufficient generation to meet forecasted demand,” per the Houston Chronicle.
Events in May prompted worry that ERCOT would not necessarily be able to keep the lights on, despite its best assurances.
ERCOT had ordered at least one power plant to delay scheduled repairs to keep operating and meet demand during one of the hottest Mays on record. The following day, at least six power plants went offline.
Consequently, ERCOT requested that Texans temporarily set their thermostats to 78 degrees and refrain from using large appliances during peak energy demand hours.
This temporary request became a summer-long “recommendation” announced by ERCOT on May 16.
One Texas resident tweeted at ERCOT, “I live in the middle of the largest city in the state and never missed an electricity payment. I don’t deserve to be worried day to day whether I will be without power. This is ridiculous!”
Another tweeted to ask, “Dear ERHOT would federal regulation mean our AC would stay on this summer[?]”
ERCOT’s reputation suffered considerably following the catastrophic power outage in February 2021. A lengthy winter storm overwhelmed the electrical grid, knocking out power for millions of Texans.