The Long Battle Between Heat & A/C Continues

A few scattered showers this week didn't really stop the unseasonable heat wave smothering Houston, and things won't be better over the weekend. Accuweather's "Feels Like" temps for the next three days include 109, 105 and 107).

So the a/c units are blasting. Any danger they're gonna go out and bring blackouts, brownouts or even rolling shutdowns?

Not at this point, ERCOT spokeswoman Dottie Roark tells Hair Balls. (ERCOT is the Texas statewide electricity grid; we're the only state that has one to ourself -- in case we secede!!)

But that doesn't mean that June wasn't taxing.

"We hit an electric demand of 62,298 megawatts (MW) during 3-4 pm on Thursday, June 25 -- just 41 MW shy of an all-time record," Roark said via e-mail. "The current record for peak demand is 62,339 MW, which occurred Aug. 17, 2006. (One megawatt typically powers about 200 average homes during hot summer weather.)"

That day did set a June record for usage, though, she says.

She says that as far as ERCOT's experts can tell, they won't be caught short. "We experienced several consecutive days of high electric load last week - almost beating our all-time peak demand record - and the high-voltage transmission grid and power supply was up to the challenge," she said. "According to our load forecasts, we expect to see these record-high peak demands again in August. ERCOT has adequate power supply and cushion of generation reserves to meet those demands in the summer."

So feel free to go ahead and blast the a/c this weekend -- actually, loads on weekends are lighter because offices are closed.

Just get ready to pay the bill when it comes.

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Richard Connelly
Contact: Richard Connelly