Texas powers past energy record but the AC and lights stay on thanks to spare capacity

With Texas being walloped by a merciless heatwave this weekend, the state’s energy provider said on Sunday it surpassed record demand.

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas’s (ERCOT) supply and demand tracker showed its current power supply peaking at 74,997 megawatts, surpassing its previous record of 74,820 megawatts in August 2019.

FILE: An electric generator is seen at the CenterPoint Energy powerplant on June 09, 2022, in Houston, Texas. (Brandon Bell/Getty Images/Getty Images)

Despite the high demand, however, ERCOT said it had around 10,000 extra megawatts above peak demand. ERCOT, which supplies more to some 26 million Texas, representing about 90% of the state’s power load, said previously it expects to break records as economic growth boosts usage in homes and businesses.

In a summer outlook released in May, ERCOT said it “expected to have sufficient installed generating capacity” for peak demands in the summer months ahead, reaching an estimated 77,317 megawatts.

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

EBW Analytics said less hot weather and the fire that shut the Freeport liquefied natural gas plant in Texas helped keep demand below forecast this week.

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“Texas electricity demand has come in below … same-day forecasts each of the past four days,” EBW said.