December 4, 2022

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Texas power grid operator warns of potential power outages in scorching heat

Texas power grid operator warns of potential power outages in scorching heat

Power lines are seen during a heat wave with expected temperatures of 102 F (39 C) in Dallas, Texas, US, June 12, 2022. REUTERS/Shelby Tauber/File Photo

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HOUSTON (Reuters) – A Texas power grid operator on Sunday called on residents for the second time this year to conserve energy, warning of possible power outages amid expectations of record-high temperatures on Monday.

The state is facing a “potential shortage of spare capacity with no market solution available,” the Texas Electricity Reliability Council (ERCOT) said on its website, adding an emergency power warning that advised the possibility of a blackout.

ERCOT, which oversees the provision of power to more than 26 million customers, assured residents earlier this year that it had enough reserves to meet demand after millions of people suffered blackouts through a deep freeze in early 2021 for several days.

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Temperatures across the state set records on Sunday, hitting 105 degrees Fahrenheit (40.6 degrees Celsius) at Houston’s Bush International Airport, beating the record of 101 Fahrenheit set in 1909, according to the U.S. National Weather Service (NWS).

Extreme or dangerous heat levels are expected across much of the state on Monday, with temperatures exceeding 100 Fahrenheit.

ERCOT asked residents to maintain electricity between 2pm and 8pm, saying demand could reach 79,934 MW on Monday and 80,104 MW on Tuesday, which is not far from Monday’s projected available reserves of 80,200 MW. .

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Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner advised police and fire chiefs in the fourth most populous city to “prepare if the state’s power grid fails during extreme temperatures.”

The state’s grid operator has called for more power from suppliers and asked large industrial consumers to reduce their energy use.

This energy use will reach an all-time preliminary level of 78,204 MW on July 8. read more

One megawatt can supply about 1,000 American homes on a typical day, but only about 200 homes on a hot Texas summer day.

The last time Texas called for energy conservation was in May, during an earlier heat wave that drove prices to more than $4,000 a megawatt-hour after six generators stopped working. Read more

The state’s next day market has several hours on Monday afternoon listed at over $1,000 per megawatt-hour (MWh) and one at over $2,000, which is more than double the peak price on Sunday.

Despite price hikes the next day over the weekend, next-day capacity at ERCOT North Hub eased to $157 per megawatt-hour on Monday from a two-week high of $193 on Friday. The ERCOT North Hub includes the city of Dallas.

That compares to an average of $69 so far this year.

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Additional reporting by Elaine Suring in Bengaluru, Gary McWilliams in Houston and Scott DeSavino in New York; Editing by Susan Fenton and Bernadette Baum

Our criteria: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.