Texas heatwave will test power grid early next week

(Reuters) – The Texas power grid will be tested again early next week as another early spring heatwave blankets the state this weekend, prompting homes and businesses to crank up their air conditioners.

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), which operates the grid for most of the state, has said it expects to have enough electricity to meet demand.

AccuWeather forecast high temperatures in Houston, the biggest city in Texas, would reach 98 degrees Fahrenheit (36.7 Celsius) on Monday before easing to the low to mid 90s F for the rest of the week. That compares with a normal high of 86 F in the city at this time of year.

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 down.

ERCOT projected power demand would peak at 71,152 megawatts (MW) on Monday, May 16.

That would break the grid’s current record for the month of May of 70,703 MW set earlier this week on May 9, but will remain well below the state’s all-time peak of 74,820 MW in August 2019.

One megawatt can power around 1,000 US homes on a typical day, but only about 200 homes on a hot summer day in Texas.

Next-day prices at the ERCOT North hub, which includes Dallas, jumped to a six-month high of $ 195 per megawatt hour (MWh) for Friday.

Energy traders said ERCOT North prices for Monday have traded around $ 220 per MWh.

(Reporting by Scott DiSavino; Editing by Nick Zieminski)

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