Power demand in Texas hits new high during frigid weather

power plant

AUSTIN (KXAN) - Sub-freezing temperatures across the state pushed the demand for electricity to a new winter record Tuesday morning, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas said.

The operator of the electricity transmission grid for most of the state said usage peaked at 57,277 megawatts about 8 a.m., surpassing the previous winter record of 57,265 megawatts on Feb. 10, 2011.

ERCOT has discontinued a conservation alert it had issued on Monday calling on customers to reduce their use of electricity. The alert came after problems with high electricity use across much of the state due to frigid temperatures were compounded by the failure of two power plants.

ERCOT said sufficient generation remained available Monday night into Tuesday morning. On Monday morning, demand reached 55,487 megawatts before climbing to 56,031 megawatts during the evening hours.

The council said peak demands in winter weather typically occurs between 6-9 a.m., and 5-8 p.m.

The all-time record overall was set on Aug. 3, 2011, when demand peaked at 68,305 megawatts. ERCOT says one megawatt is enough power to serve about 200 homes during summer peak periods — which typically are about 10,000 megawatts higher than winter peaks — and about 500 homes during mild weather.

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