Texas grid operator calls for power conservation as temperatures and prices soar

The Texas state electric grid operator on Friday called on residents to reduce their electricity use this weekend after six power plants were shut down due to the heat wave.

Record high temperatures have pushed up demand for air conditioning, contributing to soaring wholesale prices this week. The call for residents to conserve power came after prices spiked more than $4,000 per Houston megawatt-hour (MWH) briefly on Friday afternoon, from less than $6 MWH earlier.

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) said six generating plants, supplying 2,900 megawatts (MW), went offline Friday afternoon. All of the network’s generation facilities were back in business, ERCOT’s acting chief executive, Brad Jones, said in a revised statement.

“We’re asking Texans to conserve power when they can,” Jones said in a statement, asking residents to crank thermostats to 78 degrees Fahrenheit or higher (25.5 Celsius) and not run consumer appliances. electricity during peak hours during the weekend.

ERCOT had previously forecast power demand to peak at 71,152 megawatts on Monday. This level would beat the record of 70,703 MW set on May 9, but would be well below the historic peak of 74,820 MW reached in August 2019.

The AccuWeather forecaster expects Houston temperatures to hit 98 degrees Fahrenheit on Monday, down from below 90 degrees through Sunday. The normal maximum temperature is 86 degrees this time of year. (Reporting by Gary McWilliams; Editing by Cynthia Osterman and Himani Sarkar)

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