(Reuters) – Power demand in Texas reached the highest level ever recorded in the month of May on Tuesday and will likely break the record for June on Wednesday as economic growth boosts overall usage and hot weather causes homes and businesses to crank up their air conditioners.
The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), which operates the grid for most of the state, said it had enough resources available to meet forecast demand.
That was not the case on May 13 when ERCOT was forced to urge customers to conserve energy after several power plants shut unexpectedly, causing real-time prices to briefly soar to over $4,000 per megawatt hour (MWh).
Extreme weather reminds Texans of the 2021 February freeze that left millions 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 was shut.
AccuWeather forecast high temperatures in Houston would remain in the low to mid 90s Fahrenheit (33.9 Celsius) from May 31-June 25. That compares with a normal high of 90 F (32.2 C).
ERCOT said demand peaked at a preliminary 71,688 megawatts (MW) on Tuesday, which would top the prior record for May of 71,160 MW on May 19.
ERCOT forecast that demand would reach 70,398 MW on Wednesday, which would top the June record of 70,257 MW set in 2021, and would keep breaking that monthly high on June 5-7.
The 74,757 MW peak expected on June 7 would fall just shy of the grid’s all-time high of 74,820 MW in August 2019.
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.
ERCOT expects to have about 91,392 MW of resources available to meet a projected peak of 77,317 MW this summer.
(Reporting by Scott DiSavino; Editing by Will Dunham)