Texas power use breaks record again, more to come as heatwave lingers

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Power lines are seen during a heatwave with expected temperatures of 102 F (39 C) in Dallas, Texas, U.S. June 12, 2022. Though the heat wave caused electricity use in Texas to reach an all time high, the power grid remained largely stable without major issues. REUTERS/Shelby Tauber

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June 21 (Reuters) - Power demand in Texas hit a new all-time high on Monday and will likely keep breaking that record this week as economic growth boosts overall use and homes and businesses keep their air conditioners cranked up to escape a lingering heatwave.

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), which operates the grid for more than 26 million customers representing about 90% of the state's power load, has said it has enough resources available to meet demand.

Extreme weather is a reminder of the February freeze in 2021 that left millions of Texans 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 shut.

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AccuWeather forecast high temperatures in Houston, the biggest city in Texas, will rise from 94 Fahrenheit (34.4 Celsius) on Tuesday to around 102 F Friday-Sunday. That compares with a normal high of 93 F for this time of year.

ERCOT said power use soared to a preliminary 76,566 megawatts (MW) on Monday, topping the current all-time high of 75,124 MW on June 16, and will reach 76,949 MW on Tuesday and 77,277 MW on Thursday. read more

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

Despite record-setting demand, power prices at the ERCOT North Hub , which includes Dallas, slid to a two-week low of $81 per megawatt hour for Tuesday from $100 for Friday. That compares with an average of $64 so far this year and $141 in 2021.

ERCOT forecast economic growth would boost peak demand to 77,317 MW this summer. The grid expects new wind and solar power plants added over the past year will increase resources available this summer to 91,392 MW.

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Reporting by Scott DiSavino

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