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ERCOT: Power supply staying ahead of demand

KHOU 11's energy expert said we're experiencing the kind of numbers we usually see until much later in the summer.

HOUSTON — High temperatures mean high demand for power to keep cool.

As temperatures rise, ERCOT is forecasting the demand for power across its statewide grid to come dangerously close to supply.

So far, supply has stayed ahead of demand. KHOU 11's energy expert said we're experiencing the kind of numbers we usually see until much later in the summer.

“Today (Thursday) we’re hitting a peak that really we hadn’t expected to hit until August,” Ed Hirs said.

He said the contribution to the Texas grid from wind and solar is not as high as it was last week.

“And that means that we need almost everybody else to be in the game," he said.

The head of the Public Utility Commission, which oversees ERCOT, told lawmakers they’ve had to go to reserves six days in the last year.

Hirs said that if some units trip off, ERCOT may have to call for rolling blackouts. Since last February’s freeze, the grid operator has changed the rules on who loses power first.

“If they do institute the rolling blackouts, it shouldn’t be more than 30 to 45 minutes each, if you will, and across a very small percentage of the grid because it won’t take that much to get us back into good shape,” Hirs said.

Around mid-afternoon Thursday, CenterPoint Energy was reporting just over 1,000 customers without power in the Houston area but those weren't a result of lack of supply.

“Those outages aren’t at all related to a lack of generation. Those outages are related to lines being down, things just aging incorrectly,” Hirs said.

CenterPoint said ERCOT is not issuing any calls for conservation right now but they're boosting staffing this weekend to quickly respond to any potential issues caused by high temperatures.

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