Texas power use to keep breaking records as heatwave lingers

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

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July 6 (Reuters) - Power demand in Texas hit another all-time high this summer on Tuesday and will likely keep breaking that record all week as economic growth boosts overall use and homes and businesses crank up their air conditioners 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 energy 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 said temperatures in Houston, the biggest city in Texas, will rise from 95 degrees Fahrenheit (35 degrees Celsius) on Wednesday to 100 F on Saturday. That compares with a normal high of 94 F for this time of year.

ERCOT forecast power use would soar to 77,813 megawatts (MW) on Wednesday, 78,422 MW on Thursday, 79,391 MW on Friday and 80,520 MW on Saturday, which would top the current preliminary all-time high of 77,460 MW on Tuesday. read more

To meet that demand, ERCOT has said it expects new wind and solar power plants added over the past year will increase resources available this summer to 91,392 MW.

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.

Power prices at the ERCOT North Hub , which includes Dallas, slid to a one-month low of $74 per megawatt hour (MWh) for Wednesday from $78 for Tuesday. That compares with an average of $66 so far this year, $141 in 2021 and a five-year (2017-2021) of $56.

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Reporting by Scott DiSavino Editing by Marguerita Choy

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