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Texas grid operator deploys emergency response service as reserves drop

Published 08/17/2023, 12:47 PM
Updated 08/17/2023, 09:55 PM
© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A general view of electric lines as demand for power surges during a period of hot weather in Houston, Texas, U.S. June 27, 2023. REUTERS/Callaghan O’Hare/File Photo

(Reuters) -The main grid operator in Texas said on Thursday it had engaged its emergency system after electricity reserves dropped below the critical 3,000 MW level due to increased power usage amid a heatwave.

The Electric Reliability Council Of Texas (ERCOT), which operates the grid for more than 26 million customers which use about 90% of the state's power load, said it had operating reserves of 2,929 MW as of 8:37 p.m. CDT.

Power usage was projected to hit 87,083 MW on Friday, a new record high as demand has surged over the summer.

Temperatures in Houston, the most populous city in Texas, reached as high as 102.2 degrees Fahrenheit (39°Celsius) on Thursday, according to AccuWeather.

Extreme weather in Texas has been in focus since a deadly storm in February 2021 left millions without power, water and heat for days as ERCOT struggled to avoid a grid collapse.

The Emergency Response Service (ERS) helps decrease the likelihood of system-wide load shedding by paying qualified entities to make arrangements with residential, commercial and industrial participants to either reduce consumption or increase generation across the grid.

"ERCOT is requesting Transmission Operators to implement distribution voltage reduction measures if available," it said in a notice.

ERCOT said it also expected lower power reserves due to reduced wind generation.

Real-time power prices rose above $5,000 in most of ERCOT Texas hubs, according to the ERCOT website.

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A general view of electric lines as demand for power surges during a period of hot weather in Houston, Texas, U.S. June 27, 2023. REUTERS/Callaghan O’Hare/File Photo

The grid operator had earlier urged consumers to conserve power between 3 p.m. CDT (2000 GMT) and 8 p.m. CDT on Thursday as demand surged.

Discount Power, a unit of NRG Energy (NYSE:NRG), the largest U.S. retail electricity provider, had also requested that its Texas customers conserve electricity between 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. CDT.

Latest comments

you have to have a state government that supports a healthy grid system and is willing to spend the money.....
Can't wait to see how they gonna do with all the EVs.
Of course Texas power usage is up, it is middle of summer, population has increased significantly, and people are using more electric cars. Leftists want people to use electric cars but then complain when power grids cannot support electric demands. Also, this is the over the tenth time in the past two weeks Reuters has pushed out this headline.
Why not just generate more with cheap LNG? Oh, real Bidenomics is why.
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