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Texas daily power demand sets record for May consumption


(Reuters) – Daily power consumption in Texas set a record for the month of May on Sunday, the state grid operator said, for the fourth time this month, as homes and businesses fire up air conditioners to escape a heat wave.

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), which operates most of the state’s power grid for 27 million customers, said power demand soared to a preliminary 73,756 megawatts (MW) late on Sunday, which would top the former high for the month of May of 73,749 MW set on Saturday.

Analysts expect electricity consumption will top its 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 twice before this month and hit a hit a preliminary 72,695 megawatts (MW) on Friday.

ERCOT projected usage would break the new May daily record on Monday, the Memorial Day public holiday, when it forecasts a peak above 76,500 MW.

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 meteorologists at AccuWeather. 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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