Texas Power Usage Hits All-Time High Amid Soaring Temperatures


Power use in the state of Texas hit an all-time high on Sunday as Texans continue to face high electricity prices amid soaring temperatures.

Power demand exceeded 75 gigawatts at around 5:15 p.m. on June 12, surpassing the previous record of 74.8 gigawatts set in August 2019. The power grid is operating normally and there is enough supply to meet the demand, officials said, according to Bloomberg.

The surge in power use, especially during the weekend, is unusual in June because it tends not to be as hot as the late summer months, and electricity demand is usually lower during weekends with many factories and offices closed.

However, this weekend was different. Much of the state recorded over 100 degrees F, which is high even by Texas standards and unexpectedly early in the season for such temperatures. A heat advisory was issued by the National Weather Service on Sunday afternoon for 246 out of 254 counties.

Texas this year recorded its second-hottest ever month of May. The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), which operates the state’s electrical grid, asked Texans to conserve power during a heat wave that came amid outages at some plants. Electricity prices had briefly spiked to more than $4,000 per megawatt-hour (MWh) compared to the average of $60 in 2022.

AccuWeather is forecasting citizens to likely feel the heat through the middle of this week. It is advising them to limit the time spent outdoors during the hottest part of the day and to stay hydrated.

The spike in power use comes as electricity prices have soared, putting pressure on people’s budgets. “Utility rates are an essential pocketbook issue for Texans, especially those 50-plus,” Tina Tran, Texas Director of AARP, said in an article on the organization’s website.

“Too often, older Texans must choose between paying their utility bill and paying for their prescriptions. The summer weather—not unlike the winter heating season—is going to be a challenge. Knowing where to go for assistance is more important than ever.”

A Texas family that uses 1,000 kWh of electricity per month will have to shell out $80 extra, according to an analysis by The Dallas Morning News. This would mean almost $1,000 extra spent annually on electricity.

Higher electricity rates are partly driven by soaring natural gas prices. On June 2, 2021, natural gas futures were at $3.08 per million British thermal units. A year later, this has risen to $8.70. Natural gas powers the plants that account for over 40 percent of the electricity supplied to the state’s grid.

“Texas has this whole mythology around cheap gas and prosperity, and those days are clearly over,” Alison Silverstein, an energy consultant, told The Dallas Morning News. “We’re in trouble as consumers … The most effective thing we can do is try to use less electricity.”

Naveen Athrappully

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Naveen Athrappully is a news reporter covering business and world events at The Epoch Times.



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