Electricity demand reaches another record

August 4, 2011 1:13:55 PM PDT
Power demand in Texas hit another record level Wednesday and flirted with knocking industrial plants offline as drought-stricken cities statewide endured another afternoon of temperatures that soared past 100 degrees.

An electric grid teetering on overload nearly caused the Electric Reliability Council of Texas to temporarily cut off some heavy commercial power users, such as chemical plants along the Gulf Coast. By late Wednesday, however, the so-called Level 2 restrictions had been averted.

But power consumption in Texas was still pushed to the limit: Peak demand exceeded 68,000 megawatts, just north of a new all-time record set Tuesday. That again prompted ERCOT to implement its Level 1 measures, which involves asking Texans to conserve power.

ERCOT, which operates the state's bulk transmission grid, is making the appeal each afternoon this week as record afternoon heat breeds record demand for electricity.

Peak hours for energy demands are from 3pm until 7pm. ERCOT is asking customers to conserve energy during that time.