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Rising temperatures this weekend could put strain on Texas power grid

ERCOT is bracing for a weekend of rising temperatures.

HOUSTON — Energy experts are warning of a strain on the power grid this weekend across the state of Texas.

There are concerns of near all-time high demand for the month of May. Experts are worried some of the state's thermal plants may be offline due to maintenance. But ERCOT says they're asking plants to postpone scheduled maintenance so that they'll be ready for the demand.

KHOU 11 reached out to ERCOT about their readiness and they sent us the following statement.

“The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) is anticipating extreme hot weather in the region Friday, May 6 through Monday, May 9 and may experience larger than normal demand for power.

ERCOT will deploy all the tools available to us to manage the grid reliably. ERCOT is coordinating closely with the Public Utility Commission, generation resource owners and transmission utilities to ensure they are prepared for the extreme heat. ERCOT has asked power plants across the region to postpone planned outages and to return from outages already in progress in order to serve Texans this weekend. At this time, ERCOT projects there will be sufficient generation to meet this high demand for electricity.”

Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo said the fear of losing power during extreme temperatures is unacceptable.

"During the winter storm I pledged to continue advocating for a resilient energy grid. Seeing ERCOT warn about possible loss of power with hot temperatures needs to be called out. It’s not normal and it’s not OK for Texans to fear outages with every temperature fluctuation," Hidalgo tweeted.

The memory of last February is still fresh in Texans' minds, as millions of people in the state were without power for days while temperatures remained below freezing. 

You can monitor the grid conditions through ERCOT’s digital dashboard.

"It’s going to be tight this weekend with the heatwave and the heat index 103 and 105 and almost a quarter of generators offline we may very well have blackouts in different parts of the state," said KHOU 11 energy expert Ed Hirs.

Hirs said energy generation companies have an incentive to not bring all their power plants online.

"If they bring them all online they guarantee low wholesale prices but if some of them don’t come back online then the price can spike what the average price is," he said. "We are short this weekend and it remains to bee seen if its going to be an inconvenience, hopefully not a catastrophe." 

Supply and demand

This is a real-time look at supply of power and demand, as reported by ERCOT. It also shows projected supply and demand, based on forecast.

Grid conditions

ERCOT is tracking the state of the grid, as well as the state of the operating reserve.

There are several more real-time monitors that you can check on ERCOT's site, including system-wide demand, solar, current prices, and more.


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