Will there be enough Texas electricity for the cold weather?
The organization responsible for managing nearly all of the Texas power grid — the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) — says there will be plenty of electricity for Texans this fall and winter. Even at peak demand, Texas electricity customers will stay warm and toasty when their furnaces fire up.
Peak demand in the fall is estimated to be 58,619 MW which easily fits within the 81,000 MW of capacity that will be available. That includes 915 MW of capacity from two natural gas-fired power plants, one wind project, and three solar projects that recently came online. Plus, there’s another 265 MW of planned operational capacity projected to become available during fall. That means that electricity prices in Texas will likely become a lot less volatile than what happened this past summer.
“ERCOT studies multiple scenarios prior to each season to determine a range of potential risks resulting from extreme temperatures, generation outages and low wind output,” said ERCOT’s Manager of Resource Adequacy Pete Warnken in a September 6 press release. “Our assessments show a healthy amount of operating reserves heading into the fall season.”
Winter probably shouldn’t be a problem either. Preliminary estimates from ERCOT put peak winter demand at 61,780 MW. This is markedly below the record winter demand set earlier this year on January 17 when demand topped out at 65,915 MW between 7 and 8 a.m. That morning’s extremely cold temperatures were to blame for the high consumption.
Setting your cool weather thermostat
Even though you won’t have to worry about your heat not kicking on when the outdoor temperatures drop, you will still want to conserve energy. Winter Dallas electricity prices can hit you in the wallet. And during cold weather outbreaks in the south of the state, Houston power prices can spike suddenly. Consumption and prices aren’t as high as in summer, but that’s no reason to pay more than necessary.
Setting your home’s thermostat to 68°F when you are home and active can can make a big difference in your fall and winter electricity bills. Every degree of extra heating increases your energy usage by eight percent. So put on a sweater and throw an extra blanket on your bed. You’ll be happy you did when your electricity bill arrives.
Choosing a new Texas power plan
Now is a great time to shop for Texas electricity. We’re between the peak pricing seasons of summer and winter, so locking in a fixed rate electricity plan may be right for you. You can even use the Plan Picker 3000 to narrow your search just by answering a few questions about your electricity usage and about what is most important to you in an electricity plan.