A Long, Hot Summer for ERCOT, and Customers? ERCOT Supplies Still Aren't Enough for Peak Demand
In case you've been living in a hermit-like state under a very cool and air-conditioned rock, you may have noticed that the traditional Texas summer weather settled in long before we actually got to the official start of summer last week.
Graphic from the U.S. Energy Information Administration
We've been, ahem, enjoying those days of 90 degrees and higher for weeks now and unless you're very economic minded and gifted with the best self control ever gifted to humankind, you've lowered that thermostat to try and make the house as much like Alaska's climate as possible.
Well, here's where the disturbing part comes in, because seemingly everyone in Texas has been doing that and will be doing that until summer finally ends (most likely sometime around Thanksgiving), and the thing is the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, the grid operator for most of the state, doesn't have the electricity reserves needed to deal with the peak demand points in Texas.
Between the state's booming population and all of the drilling activity from oil field activity across the state, there's a lot of electricity being sucked up, which makes the fact that ERCOT has been running low on electricity reserves for the past few hotter-than-hell, record-breaking-usage-of-electricity summers, kind of daunting.
While ERCOT has added to the electricity reserves, the U.S. Energy Information Administration reports that ERCOT has not added enough to cover the energy demands that will come when Texas reaches peak-hour demand. This could mean you go to turn down the thermostat just as the whole system goes into rolling blackouts, and then there's no electricity at all.
So keep that in mind this summer. If it stays hot enough electricity will be getting a lot more expensive and if the demand for electricity goes past the available supply, you could be enjoying the wonderful world of no air conditioning, just like the pioneers did. Sounds fun, yes?