ERCOT preps for peak energy demand as triple digits loom

It's only May, but North Texas is already seeing the possibility of triple-digit temperatures next week.

ERCOT is the organization that manages the state’s electrical grid. It is already forecasting record demand for the month of May next week. It already broke the record twice earlier this month.

Last month, ERCOT was out with a forecast that had a slimmer margin of reserves than they prefer between the amount of energy the state produces and the amount that Texans use. That's based normal weather.

But with an already dry spring, the National Weather Service says there's a chance it could be a hotter than usual, meaning things could get tight.

Bud Weinstein is the associate director at SMU’s Maguire Energy Institute. He points out there's concern over whether Texas' ability to produce energy is keeping up with its growth.

“The question is is it generating capacity growing fast enough to meet the needs of a population that's expanding a robust economy,” he said. “We'll find out this summer because this summer is predicted to be very hot.”

The last time, records were set was during the heat in August 2016. This year, ERCOT expects usage to surpass that.

Weinstein says, if necessary, ERCOT could cut power to certain businesses, but he doesn't think it would get so bad as to spur rolling blackouts at homes or apartments.

“I really don't think the households have to worry,” he said. “Because it’s the households that are kind of at the bottom.”

ERCOT expects more May usage records next week. Right now, they do not plan to make appeals for people to conserve energy. However, that could change.

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