News and Analysis

Texas Sets Record For Energy Usage As Demand Surges During Heat Wave
Electric Reliability Council Of Texas Warns Of Ultra High Demand On State's Power Grid HOUSTON, TEXAS - JUNE 10: Service technicians work to install the foundation for a transmission tower at the CenterPoint Energy power plant on June 10, 2022 in Houston, Texas. Power demand in Texas is expected to set new all-time highs as heatwaves surge to levels rarely seen outside of summer, and economic growth contributes to higher usage in homes and businesses. The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) has said that it has enough resources to meet demand. (Photo by Brandon Bell/Getty Images) Brandon Bell / Staff
Photo by Brandon Bell/Staff/Getty Images

As a massive heat wave swept the nation over the weekend, energy output in Texas reached record highs, straining the already vulnerable energy grid.

It has faced serious issues in the past, like in 2021, when freezing temperatures left millions without power for days. Over the weekend, there was record high electricity usage throughout Texas, straining the grid even further. Officials said the grid is functioning adequately, and they have enough resources to meet the increased demand. Still, June is early to see this energy demand because historically, Texans see peak temperatures later in the summer.

The state experienced more than 75 gigawatts of electricity demand on Sunday, passing a record set in August 2019. 

The northern Texas region has already had two days of triple-digit temperatures, almost a month earlier than usual. This amount of energy grid strain is not normal for a weekend. Typically, there’s less demand for electricity on weekends because people aren’t in offices, so again, another troubling sign that there could be even higher demand later in the summer.

On Sunday, the National Weather Service put out a heat advisory for every county in Texas except for eight. Many of those were issued an excessive heat warning, meaning the heat index was anticipated to go up to 105 degrees or more for 2 hours or longer.

Some areas experienced lengthy outages over the weekend, but those are believed to mostly just be incidents associated with the high temperatures and not caused by the grid. Oncor Electric Delivery, a utility company in Texas, said, “The record-setting heat is putting additional stress on our equipment.”

To this point, the grid has held up, and ERCOT didn’t have to ask Texans to conserve energy, which happened back in May when another heat wave hit at the same time that some plants went down.

This is being closely watched because of the grid’s issues in the past — specifically during the freeze early last year that resulted in over 240 deaths.

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