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Texas Dials Back Power-Demand Forecast, Doesn’t Expect Record

·1 min read

(Bloomberg) -- The Texas grid operator significantly dialed back a forecast for record electricity demand as businesses curtailed usage to reduce their bills.

Large industrial and commercial customers, such as chemical plants, chose to curb power consumption in an effort to control transmission charges, according to Leslie Sopko, spokeswoman for the Electric Reliability Council of Texas Inc. It was the second straight day of such conservation efforts as high temperatures baked the second-largest U.S. state.

Electricity demand probably peaked at 73,461 megawatts at 4:25 p.m. local time, below the forecast high of more than 75,200 megawatts. The Austin-based grid operator had expected power usage to surpass the Aug. 2019 record of 74,820 megawatts. The National Weather Service issued a hazardous weather outlook for north and central Texas on Tuesday amid concern humid conditions would make it feel like 107 degrees Fahrenheit (42 Celsius).

Demand may be headed for record-breaking territory on Wednesday amid persistent heat. Chastened after a deadly February storm triggered massive blackouts, Ercot procured extra power reserves to meet any spikes in weather-driven demand this summer.

Power demand may climb to 75,388 megawatts across Ercot on Wednesday, after which temperatures are expected to moderate slightly. Day-ahead electricity prices at the North hub that includes Dallas rose to a high of $137.99 a megawatt-hour in the hour ending at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, up 20% from a day earlier.

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