June 22, 2018 / 12:00 PM / in a month

ERCOT expects Texas power demand to break June record in heat wave

(Reuters) - Homes and businesses in Texas are expected to set a daily electricity consumption record for June on Friday as consumers crank up their air conditioners to escape a brutal heat wave, according to the operator of most of the state’s power grid.

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas, or ERCOT, forecast demand will peak at 68,374 MW on Friday, topping the record for the month, 67,887 MW, set on June 1.

Summer came early to Texas this year. Peak demand also broke monthly records in May when demand hit a high of 67,271 MW on May 29. [nL2N1T60B5]

ERCOT, however, projected that demand will decline after Friday as businesses shut for the weekend, cutting corporate energy use, and temperatures drop next week, which will reduce air conditioning use.

Temperatures in Houston were expected to reach the mid-90s Fahrenheit (mid-30s Celsius) on Friday, Saturday and Sunday before declining to the low 90s and upper 80s next week, according to meteorologists at forecaster AccuWeather.

Those temperatures are not unusual. The normal high in Houston at this time of year is 93 degrees F.

* ERCOT said in April that it was preparing for record-breaking peak usage of around 72,756 MW this summer, which would top the grid’s all-time high of 71,110 MW in August 2016.

* Despite the retirement of three big coal plants over the past six months, ERCOT said it expects to have sufficient operational tools to manage tight reserves and maintain system reliability this summer. [nL2N1SO13G]

* Those tools include using a previously mothballed power plant, imports from other regions, consumer conservation and demand response efforts, which compensate consumers for cutting electric usage when needed.

* ERCOT manages the flow of electric power to 24 million Texas customers, representing about 90 percent of the state’s electric load.

* The biggest power utilities in Texas are units of Sempra Energy, CenterPoint Energy Inc, American Electric Power Co Inc, Entergy Corp, Xcel Energy Inc, El Paso Electric Co and PNM Resources Inc.

Reporting by Scott DiSavino; Editing by Steve Orlofsky

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