Texas is no stranger to heat — and we haven’t reached 2011 levels. Yet last Monday, the power grid broke a new record of demand. According to a recent ERCOT report, the power demand was over 76,600 megawatts, surpassing the previous record break of more than 75,000 megawatts of demand on June 12.
ERCOT’s report estimates that this year could be even hotter than the sweltering summer of 2011, or at least within the 10 hottest summers in the state’s history. This in addition to a forecast for one of the driest summers on record makes the matter of a functioning service all the more critical.
On June 12 Oncor reported 143 outages statewide and over 3100 customers affected, while the temperature outside reached 102 degrees. And on June 19, only in Plano over 1,500 customers had suffered the effects of the peak of power demand. With last winter’s service failures still fresh in every Texan’s memory and with higher temperatures expected for the coming months, these outages are a foreboding sign for a harsh summer.
Although Texas State Senator Nathan Johnson told WFAA’s Y’all-itics that he’s “not concerned that we’re going to have a complete failure and darkness for a week,” adding, “The grid does have the capacity to meet these demands, provided everything goes well.” He also made the point that Texas relies on older technology and equipment that would be resting and undergoing maintenance on a normal spring. But since the abnormal temperatures made it necessary to keep the equipment running we might face trouble in the near future.
In the meantime, you might want to give our tips to fight the heat another look.