No mention of buying / importing electricity from outside the state as
an alternative to rolling blackouts.
Texas grid sets June power record, urges conservation
HOUSTON | Mon Jun 25, 2012 7:09pm EDT
HOUSTON (Reuters) - Texas power use peaked on Monday afternoon at a
higher level than in any previous June even as the state urged consumers
to limit appliance use to avoid straining power plants, as much of the
state broiled under triple-digit temperatures.
Power demand reached 65,047 megawatts in the hour between 4 p.m. and 5
p.m. CDT (2200 GMT), surpassing the June record of 63,102 MW set last
year, according to preliminary grid data.
Real-time power prices briefly exceeded $100 per megawatt-hour Monday
afternoon and next-day power prices in the state traded between $165 and
$175 per megawatt-hour, down several dollars from Monday's trades.
The extreme heat hit Sunday when the mercury hit 100 degrees Fahrenheit
(38 Celsius) in Houston, San Antonio and Dallas, the three biggest
cities in the Lone Star State, prompting residents to crank up air
conditioners. Triple-digit highs are forecast for several more days this
week, with some high enough to set records, AccuWeather.com forecast.
The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), the grid operator for
most of Texas, said in a release it was looking closely at anticipated
electric use and available generation.
ERCOT said demand may top 66,000 MW on Tuesday. The state's all-time
peak use of 68,379 MW was set in August of last summer during a
protracted heat wave and drought.
The grid agency said adequate generation resources should be available
to serve that load without activating emergency programs that could lead
to curtailment of power to certain industrial customers or broader
The grid operator said its plan for the week takes into account current
power-plant outages and the possibility of losing additional resources.
One megawatt is enough to serve about 200 Texas homes during hot weather
when air conditioners run for extended periods.
The grid agency has projected that power use will peak at 67,492 MW this
summer, about 1,300 MW above what would be expected in a normal weather
ERCOT warned that rolling outages could occur this summer given the
state's limited amount of surplus generation.
An extended heat wave and drought last summer forced ERCOT to declare
emergencies on six days and curtail power to interruptible customers on
two days in August to avoid widespread rolling outages.
The state's shrinking reserve margin has led regulators to implement a
number of wholesale market changes to encourage construction of new
power plants over the long-term.
Several idled power plants have been returned to service to bolster the
summer supply after a new coal-fired plant expected to be operational
NRG Energy (NRG.N), the state's second-largest power company, has more
generation available this summer than last, after restarting a half
dozen older, natural gas-fired units totaling 1,100 MW that were
previously in mothball status.
"We have invested significant capital to get our units ready during
spring outages," said Mauricio Gutierrez, NRG's chief operating officer.
Luminant, the state's largest generator, said its power plants have
undergone preventative maintenance, inspections and testing to be
available when called on this summer.
"We take our role of powering Texas very seriously and as such, we began
preparing for the hot Texas summer months ago," said a Luminant