HOUSTON (Reuters) -The state of Texas’ power-grid operator on Friday called on residents to cut their electricity use this weekend after six generating plants fell offline in a heat wave.
Record temperatures have pushed up demand for air conditioning, contributing to soaring wholesale prices this week. The call for residents to conserve came after prices soared to more than $4,000 per megawatt hour (MWH) in Houston briefly on Friday afternoon, from less than $6 MWH earlier.
The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) said six generation plants, providing 2,900 megawatts (MW), tripped offline on Friday afternoon. All of the grid’s generation facilities had resumed operation, Interim ERCOT Chief Executive Brad Jones said in a revised statement.
“We’re asking Texans to conserve power when they can,” Jones said in a statement, asking residents to push up thermostats to 78-degrees Fahrenheit or above (25.5 Celsius) and not run power-consuming appliances during peak hours through the weekend.
ERCOT earlier projected power demand would peak at 71,152 megawatts on Monday. That level would break the May record of 70,703 MW set on May 9, but well below the state’s all-time peak of 74,820 MW reached in August 2019.
Forecaster AccuWeather expects Houston temperatures to rise to 98 degrees Fahrenheit on Monday from the low 90s through Sunday. The normal high is 86 degrees at this time of year.
(Reporting by Gary McWilliams; Editing by Cynthia Osterman and Himani Sarkar)