Summer in Texas heats up record-breaking electricity demand, safety precautions and hopes for a cool-down later this month
UPDATE 8/10/15: ERCOT’s all-time peak demand record is on a hot streak – literally – breaking the 69,000 megawatt threshold for the first time and peaking at 69,783 MW between 4 and 5 p.m. today. To help ERCOT meet the high demand, Luminant crews are busy ensuring our power plants are in top operating condition.
UPDATE 8/7/15: Surpassing ERCOT’s peak demand record set on Wednesday of 68,459 megawatts, a new all-time record was set on Thursday when demand reached 68,912 megawatts between 4 and 5 p.m. Luminant power plants were generating over 12,500 megawatts to help meet the high electric demand both days.
The traditional hottest month-long period of the year has arrived right on time in Texas. The last two weeks of July wrapped up with some of the highest electric demand of the summer, only to be topped with the all-time high demand on Wednesday.
The Electric Reliability Council of Texas demand reached 68,459 megawatts yesterday, narrowly topping the previous record of 68,305 megawatts set back in August 2011. Luminant power plants were generating more than 13,500 megawatts during the peak hour Wednesday afternoon.
Last Thursday was the hottest day so far this summer statewide, Luminant Meteorologist Michael Whitehead says, with eight major cities – Dallas, Fort Worth, Arlington, Corsicana, Longview, Tyler, Laredo and McAllen – hitting 104 degrees and several other large population areas at 99 degrees or above. This week, high temperatures ranged from 98 to 103 degrees in Austin, Dallas, Houston and San Antonio on Wednesday and are expected to creep upward of 101 degrees for all four cities Friday through Monday.
An upper level high pressure system intensifying over Texas this week is raising heat indexes to 105 degrees or more, which prompted the National Weather Service to issue the first heat advisory of the year on Wednesday for many parts of Texas. Oppressive temperatures are expected to remain through this weekend and early next week.
All that heat means increased demand for air conditioning, and the electricity that powers it. Luminant crews spent the spring getting our power plants ready to meet the demand. Now that the heat is on, they’re exercising extreme safety precautions to prevent heat-related illnesses and injuries while ensuring our power plants are reliably generating power to meet ERCOT demands. And TXU Energy is taking the message of heat safety to customers in neighborhoods across Texas and sharing tips for cutting back on electricity use during peak demand.
The good news: the second half of August is expected to be cooler and 2015 may be recorded as one of the two coolest summers of the 2000s.