TEXAS, USA — Texas saw record demand for power on Sunday. That record will not last long.
We are likely to beat that record later this week! Energy experts differ on what that means for reliability this summer.
Record temperatures in June also mean record-breaking demand for power. Sunday was the first of what may be many all-time summer power peaks.
“I think we will probably hit a couple of all-time peaks this summer,” said Joshua Rhodes of the Webber Energy Group at the University of Texas at Austin. “Air conditioning use is really what drives the peak demand in the state. We’ll see a few more peaks this summer.”
No energy conservation alerts were issued, even with peak demand. Rhodes said that should give Texans confidence that the grid is reliable, even in extreme heat.
“The lights stayed on. So I mean, at least we got that going for us,” he said. “It seems to be doing pretty well.”
But, long-term summer heat could also strain power plants by August.
“Unfortunately, we have a lot of outages today because when it gets really hot, machinery breaks and coal and gas plants are not immune to that,” said Doug Lewin, president of Stoic Energy Consulting.
The high summer heat is also likely to strain wallets.
“When you hear that A/C kick on, that is money going out of your budget,” Lewin said. It is likely to create an affordability crisis since inflation is already hiking prices of other essentials.
“I don’t think people have realized it yet. People are going to soon get those bills,” Lewin said. “They’re going to be much higher, and when you get those June bills late next month, they’re going to be extraordinary.”
Relief from either the heat or high bills is not likely to come until fall.
The grid manager of ERCOT said even with more record-setting hot weather this week, there will be enough electricity to meet the high demand.
You can keep your power bill down by doing the following:
- Keep your thermostat set no more than 20 degrees lower than the outside temperature. It will keep your air conditioner from running constantly. Use fans to keep rooms cooler.
- Close window blinds and curtains during to the day.
- Unplug any unused appliances and gadgets. Plus, turn off any unneeded lights.
- Turn off ceiling fans when not in the room.