May 9 (Reuters) – The Texas power grid operator expects demand to soar on Monday as consumers crank up their air conditioners even though meteorologists have moderated their extreme-heat forecasts.
On Friday, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), which operates the grid for most of the state, called on generators to avoid unnecessary power plant maintenance on May 10-11, expected to be the hottest days of the week. Read full story
That notice followed a similar call earlier last week for generators to prepare their plants for heat on May 6-7. Read full story
Extreme weather reminds Texans of the February freeze in 2021 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 that temperatures in Houston, the biggest city in Texas, would reach 91 degrees Fahrenheit (32.8 Celsius) on Monday, about the same as May 6-8, before rising further to 96 F by Saturday, May 14.
That compares with a normal high of 85 F in the city at this time of year. On Friday, May 6, meteorologists forecast the mercury would reach 100 F over the May 7-8 weekend.
Despite less hot weather, ERCOT boosted its peak demand outlook to 71,907 megawatts (MW) for Monday from the 68,524 MW it forecast on Friday.
Officials at ERCOT were not immediately available to say whether that would be a record for May or if the state’s all-time peak was still 74,820 MW set 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.
Next-day prices at ERCOT North EL-PK-ERTN-SNL, which includes Dallas, fell to $88 per megawatt hour for Monday from a six-month high of $164 for Friday.
(Reporting by Scott DiSavino;Editing by Bernadette Baum)