Texas power grid hits new demand record amid extreme hot weather

The unofficial all-time record was 78,264 megawatts.

Here's what we know

HOUSTON – A new unofficial all-time peak demand record for the Texas power grid was hit Monday after officials with the Electric Reliability Council of Texas issued a Conservation Appeal.

Temperatures soared into the triple digits across the Houston area. The new record is 78,264 megawatts, up from the previous record of 78,204, which was set Friday.

ERCOT officials asked Texas residents and businesses across the state to conserve electricity on Monday, July 11 between the hours of 2 to 8 p.m. The appeal was made as an effort to preserve the power grid during high electric demand. The ERCOT spokesperson said the power grid operator is not expecting to issue any additional conservation notices this week.

“I don’t think there’s going to be any more problems this week. I do worry about August,” said Doug Lewin, president of Stoic Energy. He said August is usually known for hotter temperatures and more 100-degree days.

“One individual customer, of course, doesn’t mean that much for the whole grid, but a lot of customers all together do mean a lot,” Lewin said.

Speaking to reporters in Dallas on Monday, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said everything should get back to normal.

“We’ve had record-setting temperatures over the course of the summer, but also record-setting demand of the power grid, and the power grid has been able to respond in quicker ways by providing more power than ever before,” Abbott said.

ERCOT grid conditions on July 11, 2022. (ERCOT/KPRC 2)

On Sunday evening, although ERCOT said no system-wide outages were expected, Mayor Sylvester Turner called on police, fire, and other city departments to make sure they had fuel and that generators were prepared.

Also, according to ERCOT, in the four minutes before the Conservation Appeal began, Texans “took action” and nearly 500 megawatts of load dropped off the grid.

“Conservation is a reliability tool ERCOT has deployed more than four dozen times since 2008 to successfully manage grid operations. This notification is issued when projected reserves may fall below 2300 MW for 30 minutes or more,” ERCOT’s press release stated.

The intense heat putting a strain on more than just the state’s power grid. Many local families are feeling the financial strain as they are unable to afford their skyrocketing utility bills.

Baker Ripley runs a utility assistance program in Brazoria, Galveston and Harris counties and said they are here to help.

“We have more than, right at about $15 million to assist families. So, we just encourage families in those counties to apply for assistance and Baker Ripley will take it from there,” said Desiree Davis, the Utility Assistance Director.

Higher temperatures mean higher demand

If you need help with paying your utility bills, call the utility assistance hotline at 713-590-2327.

WATCH: Houstonians try to stay cool during the record-breaking hot day

Temperatures in College Station and Galveston County

About the Author:

Moriah Ballard joined the KPRC 2 digital team in the fall of 2021. Prior to becoming a digital content producer in Southeast Texas and a Houstonian, Moriah was an award-winning radio host in her hometown of Lorain, Ohio and previously worked as a producer/content creator in Cleveland. Her faith, family, and community are her top passions.