Energy demand breaks 12-year-old March record

Texas breaks energy usage record.
Texas breaks energy usage record.

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Strain on the electric grid continues to let up as the mercury in the thermometer slowly rises, all on a day when energy consumption in March broke a record set more than 10 years ago.

Electric Reliability Council of Texas officials had asked everyone to conserve as much energy as possible, in order to prevent rolling outages, and the agency is now thanking consumers for “helping maintain grid reliability.”

“Energy conservation by consumers has helped ERCOT keep generation and electric demand balanced during this extremely cold, windy weather,” said Dan Woodfin, ERCOT director of System Operations. “We appreciate this support, as well as efforts by generation and transmission companies, to keep as many facilities available as possible.”

Peak demand Monday morning reached 54,549 megawatts, exceeding ERCOT’s previous March peak demand record set in 2002 by more than 11,500 megawatts. Hourly demands remained above the previous record the entire day.

However, electric use throughout the peak periods was lower than what could be expected during temperatures like those seen in most of the ERCOT region this week, and it remained low enough to prevent an energy emergency on the ERCOT grid.

Peak demand Tuesday morning was about 4,000 megawatts lower than Monday, as temperatures began to climb in some parts of Texas.

In preparation for this week’s extreme weather, ERCOT issued an alert Sunday night encouraging conservation Monday morning and later extended the request to 9 a.m. Tuesday, but that conservation alert is no longer in effect.

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