Power use in Central U.S. likely to break record high, grid operator says

Hot weather bakes north Texas
Power lines are seen during a heatwave with expected temperatures of 102 F (39 C) in Dallas, Texas, U.S. June 12, 2022. REUTERS/Shelby Tauber/File Photo

July 18 (Reuters) - Power demand in the Southwest Power Pool (SPP) hit a record on Friday and will likely break that on Tuesday as homes and business in the U.S. Central region keep their air conditioners cranked up to escape a lingering heat wave.

That heat also pushed demand in Texas to record highs, forcing the state's grid operator, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), to urge consumers to conserve energy to help avoid taking bigger actions to reduce usage, including rotating outages. read more

Overall, the United States is expected to use record amounts of power in 2022 due mostly to rising economic and population growth in Sun Belt states covered by ERCOT, SPP and in the U.S. Southeast. read more

SPP, which operates the grid for almost 18 million people in 17 states from North Dakota to Texas, did not take as many steps as ERCOT to control usage to meet record demand.

SPP, like ERCOT, asked its members to postpone maintenance on some critical equipment like power lines and generating plants, a common step grid operators take to ensure resources will be available during times of high demand.

AccuWeather forecast temperatures in Oklahoma City, the biggest city in SPP, will jump from 100 Fahrenheit (37.8 Celsius) on Monday to 110 F (43.3°C) on Tuesday. That would be the hottest day in the city since August 2012 when highs reached a record-tying 113 F (45°C) and compares with a normal high of 94 F for this time of year, according to federal data.

SPP said power use hit a preliminary 52,028 megawatts (MW) on July 15, topping the previous record of 51,510 MW on July 14, and will reach 53,024 MW on Tuesday.

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

Reporting by Scott DiSavino; Editing by Sandra Maler

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.