HOUSTON - ERCOT is alerting Texas power plants to get ready for emergency conditions this Mother’s Day weekend.
"That’s putting everyone on notice," said Doug Lewin, President of Stoic Energy. "We’re going to need every megawatt hour we can get."
A record-breaking heat wave is expected to impact Texas Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. Temperatures could soar into the upper 90s and above 100 degrees in certain parts of the state.
"The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) is anticipating extreme hot weather in the region Friday, May 6 through Monday, May 9 and may experience larger than normal demand for power," said a spokesperson from ERCOT. "ERCOT will deploy all the tools available to us to manage the grid reliably. ERCOT is coordinating closely with the Public Utility Commission, generation resource owners and transmission utilities to ensure they are prepared for the extreme heat."
According to Kent Prochazka, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, this heat wave could set new high temperature records across the state. Prochazka says it’s unusual to see this sort of extreme heat this early in May.
"This is extremely unusual to get this warm this time of year," said Prochazka. "These are long-standing records we’ll be breaking, or at least tying."
"If we see triple digits drag into Monday, we’ll probably be pretty close to the edge to whether we have enough [power] supply for demand," said Lewin.
Lewin says it’s typical for power plants in Texas to close for maintenance in April and May. As a result, the state’s power grid could be jeopardized if there’s an extreme heat wave.
"It’s this time of year when we’re clear of winter storms, and we think we’re clear of really severe heat waves, that we take off the power plants for planned maintenance," said Lewin. "No one wants those plants off for maintenance in the middle of July."
"ERCOT has asked power plants across the region to postpone planned outages and to return from outages already in progress in order to serve Texans this weekend," said a spokesperson from ERCOT. "At this time, ERCOT projects there will be sufficient generation to meet this high demand for electricity."
A spokesperson from CenterPoint Energy provided the written statement below regarding this weekend’s anticipated Texas heat wave:
"CenterPoint Energy continuously monitors weather and electric grid conditions," said a spokesperson from CenterPoint. "Safety is our highest priority, and we are committed to the safe and reliable operation of our infrastructure. We regularly prepare for severe weather events and have plans in place to keep customers, employees, contractors and infrastructure safe. In preparation for the upcoming extreme hot weather this weekend, we will increase Electric Operations staffing levels to respond as safely and quickly as possible to potential issues caused by high temperatures. The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) is responsible for scheduling power and ensuring the reliability of the electrical network in Texas. When facing tight conditions or energy emergencies, electric utilities, like CenterPoint Energy, follow ERCOT’s directives to stabilize electric supply for Texas customers. Additionally, the company has additional capabilities from legislation enacted in Texas in 2021 to respond to certain widespread power outages."