Keeping Up With 13 Days of Triple-Digit Heat

View Comments ()


    The hot weather is giving power-generation companies a workout.

    The triple-digit temperature is giving air conditioners a workout, and it's keeping power-generation companies busy.

    The Electric Reliability Council of Texas Inc., or ERCOT, said the record for electricity demand in Texas was broken twice within a week.

    Power-Generation Companies Busy in the Heat

    [DFW] Power-Generation Companies Busy in the Heat
    The hot weather is giving power-generation companies a workout. (Published Thursday, Aug. 12, 2010)

    The last record for demand was broken on was broken on Tuesday with 63,830 megawatts of power during the 4-5 p.m. peak hour. That's enough electricity to power 12.8 million customers.

    Laura Starnes, spokeswoman for Luminant, the state's largest power generation company, said its specialists have been closely monitoring the performance of its 28 power plants to react to demand. More than 30 specialists work in shifts at the hub office, checking out monitors and various performance levels of energy plants.

    "We're able to constantly monitor 24-7," she said.

    North Texas has had 13 straight days of hundred-degree weather and a total of 19 days this year of triple-degree heat.

    On Thursday at the peak hour, the company generated 13,356 megawatts of power, enough for 2.6 million homes.

    One megawatt is roughly enough electricity to power 500 average homes under normal conditions in Texas, or about 200 homes during hot weather when air conditioners are running for longer periods of time.

    Starnes also said the company has several auxiliary plants that come into use when demand is high. The Lake Hubbard power plant located on Lake Ray Hubbard uses natural gas to generate up to 880 megawatt hours during peak use. That's enough power to light up 176,000 customers.

    But the Lake Hubbard plant isn't always humming with productivity.

    "They're really there specifically for those peaks times when demand is the highest," Starnes said.