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Texas daily power demand sets record for May consumption


(Reuters) -Texas’ daily power consumption set a record for the month of May for the sixth time this month, the state grid operator said on Monday, as homes and businesses fired up air conditioners during a heat wave.

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), which operates most of the state’s power grid for 27 million customers, said demand soared to a preliminary 77,126 megawatts (MW) on Monday. This broke the former record for the month of May of 74,997 MW set earlier in the day.

Analysts expect electricity consumption will hit an all-time high this summer amid economic and population growth in Texas and rising demand for power from data centers, artificial intelligence and cryptocurrency mining. The grid’s all-time peak was 85,508 MW on Aug. 10, 2023.

On Friday, ERCOT said the system was operating normally with enough supply available to meet expected demand all week.

The increased demand has pushed prices higher with day-ahead power for one hour on Sunday evening rising to $1,518 per MWh, from $42.19 per MWh for the same hour on Saturday.

Power demand broke the daily record for the month of May on May 20, when it hit a preliminary 72,261 megawatts (MW), which topped the previous record for the month of May, 71,645 MW set in 2022.

High temperatures in Houston, Texas’s biggest city, will reach 93 degrees Fahrenheit (34 degrees Celsius) on Sunday and rise to 99 F (37 C) on Memorial Day, according to AccuWeather meteorologists. The normal high in Houston at this time of year is 88 F (31 C).

One megawatt can usually power about 800 homes on a normal day but as few as 250 on a hot summer day in Texas.

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