The Texas network operator warns of possible power outages in the scorching heat

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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HOUSTON, July 10 (Reuters) – The Texas power grid operator on Sunday urged residents in the state to save energy for the second time this year, warning of possible blackouts amid forecasts of record temperatures on Monday.

The state faces a “potential shortage of spare capacity with no available market solution,” the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) said on its website, adding an emergency energy alert noting the potential for rolling blackouts.

ERCOT, which oversees power to more than 26 million customers, had reassured residents earlier this year that it has enough reserves to meet demand after millions of people suffered from a freezing day without power for several days in early 2021 .

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Temperatures across the state hit record highs of 105 degrees Fahrenheit (40.6 degrees Celsius) at Houston’s Bush Intercontinental Airport on Sunday, surpassing the 1909 record of 101 F, according to the US National Weather Service (NWS).

High or dangerous heat levels with temperatures exceeding 100 F are forecast for much of the state on Monday.

ERCOT urged residents to conserve electricity between 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. and said demand could reach 79,934 megawatts (MW) on Monday and 80,104 MW on Tuesday, not far from the 80,200 MW of available reserves expected on Monday.

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner advised police and fire chiefs in the country’s fourth-largest city to “prepare in case the state’s power grid goes out in extreme heat.”

The country’s grid operator demanded more electricity from utilities and urged large industrial consumers to reduce their energy consumption.

That power consumption would surpass the current all-time interim high of 78,204 MW on July 8th. Continue reading

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

Texas last called for energy conservation in May, during an earlier heatwave that sent prices to over $4,000 per megawatt-hour after six generators went out. Continue reading

The state’s day-ahead market is trading above $1,000 per megawatt-hour (MWh) for several hours Monday afternoon and one above $2,000, more than double Sunday’s high.

Despite sky-high day-ahead prices over the weekend, power slipped the next day at the ERCOT North Hub from a two-week high of $193 on Friday to $157 per MWh for Monday. The ERCOT North Hub includes Dallas.

That compares to an average of $69 so far this year.

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Reporting by Eileen Soreng in Bengaluru, Gary McWilliams in Houston and Scott DiSavino in New York; Edited by Susan Fenton and Bernadette Baum

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.