Texans Experience 800% Power Price Surge on Sunday

Texas residents experienced a power price surge on Sunday like no other in history – more than 800%! – as searing heat pushed demand toward record levels and strained supplies on the state grid.

Bloomberg reported that electricity prices for the grid rose to more than $2,500 a megawatt-hour for Sunday evening, up from Saturday’s high of about $275, according to data from the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), the grid operator. The surplus of available power capacity on the grid versus power consumption narrowed to 1.6 gigawatts in the hour ending at 6 p.m. on Sunday, a level that can trigger emergency responses, though ERCOT has additional reserves it can tap to meet demand.

ERCOT issued a weather watch for Sunday and Monday “due to forecast higher temperatures, higher demand, and potential lower reserves,” the grid operator said in an emailed statement on Saturday afternoon. “ERCOT will continue to monitor conditions closely.”

Most of the state is under a heat advisory with large swaths of it under an excessive heat warning, according to the National Weather Service. 

While Texans continued about their daily activities Saturday, state officials warned residents to take precautions as they sought to mitigate the risk of extreme heat. Dallas activated temporary cooling centers on Sunday, while in Fort Worth, authorities cut back on the city’s twice-daily cattle herd.

Power usage on Sunday was expected to peak at nearly 84.4 gigawatts by 4 p.m., which would be an all-time high according to ERCOT. But it’s not until later when the solar generation starts to wane at sunset that supplies become tighter.

To view ERCOT’s grid and market conditions along with current dashboards, click here.