ERCOT: Hot summer likely to require power conservation

Houston may be back to frying eggs on the sidewalk come August.

State electricity planners are preparing for another summer of withering heat, as they assess the sufficiency of electricity generation for peak heat conditions.

The plans include calling for conservation or power watches on some days, said the Electric Reliability Council of Texas in a report issued Wednesday morning.

“We are expecting above-normal temperatures throughout summer in most areas of the ERCOT region,” said Kent Saathoff, an ERCOT executive advisor who has overseen various aspects of grid operations and system planning for several decades. “To help ensure there is enough generation to serve consumer needs, we likely will ask people to conserve power during the hottest hours of the hottest days.”

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State planners expect power demands this summer to peak at about 68,000 megawatts, slightly higher than the all-time record set August 3, 2011.

One megawatt is enough electricity to power about 200 homes when electric use is highest during the hottest days of the year.

The report, which assesses the adequacy of electricity resources for the state, indicates that there has been some improvement since last December in ensuring that there is sufficient electricity generation capacity to meet peak demand.