While Texans face triple-digit temperatures, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas reported that the state’s power grid broke the all-time peak energy demand record.

On June 27, the peak demand reached 80,828 megawatts, breaking the previous record of 80,148 MW set on July 20, 2022.

The power grid previously exceeded the record demand for the month of June, with June 19 of this year requiring 79,304 MW.

As the power grid—which provides energy to more than 26 million Texans—reaches uncharted territory, Texas temperatures continue to rise.

With a section of the state under an excessive heat warning and temperatures in some areas reaching 116 degrees, the National Weather Service warned Texans that heat is the leading cause of weather-related deaths and told them to “take it seriously.”

ERCOT issued a “voluntary conservation notice” last week, calling for Texans to monitor their electricity usage and use less power if safe to do so. The directive followed ERCOT’s Weather Watch declaration, which warned Texans that higher temperatures could lead to higher demand on the power grid.

Although ERCOT has assured Texans that the grid will successfully meet the energy demand and continue providing electricity, some have questioned the organization’s reliability.

Historic Failings

Unreliable energy sources and ERCOT’s dependability came under fire in February 2021 after a winter storm blasted Texas.

As temperatures dipped below zero, ERCOT implemented rolling blackouts when the power grid struggled to keep up with the high-energy demand. For days, millions of Texans suffered through extreme weather conditions without electricity.

ERCOT shifted some blame to renewable energy sources, claiming more than half of the state’s wind turbines froze during the storm and failed to supply enough power.

Following the winter storm, Gov. Greg Abbott implored lawmakers to investigate and reform ERCOT, which led to the resignation of four board members and the firing of CEO Bill Magness.

However, ERCOT continued failing to produce enough energy for the state, with the North American Electric Reliability Corporation warning that Texas was at risk for a summer energy emergency last year.

Last summer, the organization issued a “conservation appeal” to citizens and businesses across the state. In the appeal, ERCOT urged Texans to raise their thermostat temperature and refrain from using large appliances. They also warned that low wind speeds and increased cloud coverage could severely limit energy collected from renewable resources like wind turbines and solar panels.

Moving Forward

With no end to the heat wave in sight, ERCOT “anticipates there will be sufficient generation to meet customer demand this summer.”

ERCOT CEO Pablo Vegas said the organization would prioritize keeping energy flowing to Texans.

“ERCOT continues to monitor conditions closely and will deploy all available tools to manage the grid and will continue our reliability-first approach to operations, always prioritizing grid reliability,” said Vegas.

Although ERCOT expects the power grid to hold, the organization issued another Weather Watch, lasting until June 30, encouraging Texans to monitor grid conditions.

Katy Marshall

Katy graduated from Tarleton State University in 2021 after majoring in history and minoring in political science.