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Texas Faces Record Power Demand Amid Triple-digit Temperatures

ERCOT issues voluntary conservation notice as heat dome drives up electricity usage

As temperatures skyrocketed into triple digits across Texas on Tuesday, ERCOT asked residents to voluntarily conserve power due to forecasted record demand. No emergency status was issued, but the electric customers aren’t in the clear just yet.

Over the past week, ERCOT had declared a “weather watch,” which warns of possible significant weather and a high demand for electricity, in the face of a heat dome that has been driving up temperatures across the majority of Texas.

Stress on the electric grid escalated early in the week when the electric demand broke last year’s June record.

#TXANS Update-6/20/2023: ERCOT has issued a Voluntary Conservation Notice for today from 4-8 p.m. due to extreme heat & forecasted record demand. Texans are asked to voluntarily reduce electric use, if safe to do so. ERCOT is not in emergency operations.

— ERCOT (@ERCOT_ISO) June 20, 2023

“Yesterday, ERCOT broke the June peak demand record, unofficially, with 79,304 MW, passing last June’s record of 76,718 MW,” ERCOT said in a statement on Tuesday. “Last summer, ERCOT set 11 new peak demand records. The current all-time record of 80,148 MW was set on July 20, 2022.”

Since ERCOT operates as an island, it cannot draw power from other states if the demand surpasses the supply.

On Tuesday, the demand rose just past 79,000 MW but didn’t surpass Monday’s record, according to data from the council, but it may not stay in place for long.

In ERCOT’s 60-day forecast, there are two other days that may approach the June record, one of which could break the all-time record.

Monday, June 26, is forecast to see a demand forecast of 81,049 MW around 4 p.m. CDT, which could break the all-time demand record. It will also closely approach the 89,334 MW available seasonal capacity. It is unclear whether ERCOT will issue a voluntary conservation notice, energy emergency alert or renew the weather warning, which expires Wednesday.

Electric customers, however, may see a rise in prices next week.

“When you get your bill in late June or early July, just understand that May is usually cooler and we didn’t have those high temperatures,” David Kinchen, chief operating officer at Energy Ogre, told ABC13. “Next week is looking hot. The trend could stick around for a while as we get these heat domes in the area. So it’s probably going to translate in the near future for people’s bills in terms of usage. There’s possibilities where people could see their bills double.”

Daily high temperatures in cities, including Dallas, Houston, Austin, San Antonio and San Angelo, are forecast to hit triple digits next week, including on Monday, as the heat dome continues to bake the state.

Multiple daily and all-time high temperature records have fallen across the state since the heat dome set in, including in San Angelo. On Tuesday, the city shattered its all-time high temperature record of 111, set on July 15, 1933, as temperatures rose to 114 degrees Fahrenheit. The previous record has been met several times since it was set, including as recently as Monday, June 19.

Several other cities, primarily in southern Texas, broke into the 110s, including Laredo, Zapata, Ozona, Sweetwater and Del Rio. ACCUWEATHER

In Brazoria County, south of Houston, portions of Highway 6 buckled in the extreme heat near Froberg, between Manvel and Alvin. The road was reopened by Wednesday morning following emergency repairs by the state’s Department of Transportation.

Pavement can buckle in extreme heat due to the concrete expanding and warping. High temperatures in both Alvin and Manvel had stayed above 95 degrees since June 15.

Some customers in east Texas counties were still without power and air conditioning Wednesday following the destructive storms over the weekend.

“Less air conditioning, fewer fans around, people are dealing with extreme heat with no power. That can be a dangerous combination,” AccuWeather Chief Meteorologist Jonathan Porter told AccuWeather National Reporter Bill Wadell.

Stephanie Fox, a spokesperson for the American Red Cross, warned that these storms and widespread power outages should be a wake-up call.

“It’s really important for folks, even in areas where they may not be traditionally predisposed to these types of hazards, to always have a plan and be prepared,” Fox said.

Additional reporting by AccuWeather National Reporter Bill Wadell.

Produced in association with AccuWeather

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