Texas Power Grid Faces 'Emergency' as Early Heat Waves Scorches State

Surging temperatures in Texas could test the state's power grid, after demand for electricity reached near-record levels and the state's capital experienced partial power loss.

Texas' power grid management agency has extended its warning of possible emergency conditions as residents turn to air-conditioning to cope with above normal temperatures. While temperatures are expected to remain high throughout the state, the agency overseeing the state's power supply said there will be enough to meet demand.

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) told Newsweek in an email that on Wednesday it put into place an operating conditions notice in response to the hot weather that's in effect from Friday through the following Wednesday.

"Generators and transmission owners have worked with us to reschedule maintenance outages," ERCOT Vice President Woody Rickerson told Newsweek in a statement. "With hot weather forecasted, we will continue to monitor conditions and work with generators and transmission owners to schedule needed maintenance outages and reliably operate the grid."

Texas ERCOT 2022 Heat Wave
The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) says that it will have no issues meeting energy demands as a heat wave is forecasted throughout the state in the coming days. In this photo, power-lines are shown in Houston, Texas, on June 15, 2021. Photo by Brandon Bell/Getty Images

Texas' peak electrical demand rose above 71 gigawatts on Monday, coming close to the state's all-time summer record demand of 74.5 gigawatts set in August 2019, reports CBS affiliate KEYE-TV.

The National Weather Service has warned of early summer heat for the already hot and dry state with temperatures in the 90s.

However, there are no indications the state's grid will see the same strains as last year's historic winter storms.

ERCOT says it is prepared for above-normal temperatures that could exceed 100 degrees in some areas.

"ERCOT projects there will be sufficient generation to meet demand for electricity at this time," the statement added, saying they'll continue to "monitor the weather forecast in anticipation of hot weather across the state."

As temperatures soared near 100 degrees on Saturday, thousands of residents of South Austin lost power during a heat wave, reports KVUE. Austin Energy told the station that while demand was a factor along with the construction of a new substation, the outage doesn't point to any larger problems with Texas' power grid. Instead, Austin Energy cut the power to relieve circuits in the area overloaded by high energy use.

"These actions were not the result of an ERCOT mandate, but instead were necessary to safely operate Austin Energy's distribution system," Austin Energy told the station. "Austin Energy restored service to affected customers through the early evening and all service was back online by approximately 7:30 p.m. Saturday."

Last year, ERCOT issued a conservation notice asking customers to cut back on use when several power plants went offline for maintenance and demand rose higher than expected, reports the Houston Chronicle.