How much Texas electricity will be available this summer?
Imagine you’ve just come in from mowing your lawn on a scorching Texas afternoon. As you cross your home’s threshold, you feel an immediate blast of cold air slam into your body. The only thing more refreshing will be the shower that rinses away the sweat, dirt, and grass clippings from your sticky skin.
But you notice something. That cold blast of air isn’t as cold as you expected it to be. You check your thermostat to find your indoor temperature is 79 degrees. However, you know you always keep a daytime setting of 74 degrees. You’re in a rolling blackout because electricity utility companies had to shut off power to some homes temporarily.
Last summer, this unfortunate experience did not come to pass. Though experts were concerned, the reserve margins for the Texas electricity grid were just enough to meet peak demand. This year’s summer, however, the electricity outlook compiled by the Electricity Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) forecasts a larger reserve margin.
A significantly higher reserve margin
For summer 2020, the ERCOT forecasts a reserve margin of 10.6% which is a full two percentage points higher than last summer’s reserve margin of 8.6%. Two primary factors are at play in determining the reserve margin: the peak demand forecast and resource updates from power generation facility developers.
As the state’s population grows, so does the Texas electricity demand. Last summer’s all time high of 74,820 MW was set on Aug. 12, 2019, between 4 and 5 p.m. This summer, ERCOT predicts peak demand will surpass that amount, reaching 76,696 MW.
Texas power generation is expected to exceed this peak demand projection. Though many planned generation projects are delayed, few are completely scrapped. Therefore, the generation projects still moving forward are remain factored into ERCOT’s December Capacity, Demand and Reserves Report.
What does this mean for Texas electricity customers?
Even though the 2020 summer electricity outlook looks rosier than it did for 2019, customers should still conserve Texas electricity. Making a few minor changes to your daily routine will help keep Texans from experiencing rolling blackouts:
- Run your clothes washer and dryer during off-peak hours such as in the evening.
- Close blinds and curtains that face the afternoon sun.
- Raise your thermostat as warm as you can tolerate.
- Use a smart thermostat or programmable thermostat to reduce your power consumption when you’re away from home.
- Run ceiling fans to feel cooler without lowering your thermostat.
When many people make small changes to conserve electricity, the impact can help maintain the reliability of the ERCOT grid.
Future Texas power demands
Texas’s demand will continue to grow in the coming years. Currently installed power generation capacity cannot meet the forecasted peak demand in 2022 and beyond. Fortunately, planned power generation are expected to meet demand and contribute to much higher reserve margins in the next five years.
Your power provider matters
That shower you take after cutting the grass feels even better when you know you’re getting a low rate on Texas electricity. Different retail electricity providers charge different prices. Shop power plans at http://www.texaselectricityratings.com to relax in the knowledge you’re not paying too much for your home’s power. Your personal summer electricity outlook could be significantly better when you switch retail providers.