The demand for power from Texas' power grid set a new weekend peak record Saturday evening, due in no small part to excessive triple-digit heat that remains in the forecast for the next several days.
The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) reports the latest record-breaking demand for power was set between 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. where statewide peak demand reached 71, 077 MW (megawatts). This is 2,700 MW more than the previous weekend record set in July 2017.
“We are headed, as a state, into even more extreme temperatures than we’ve seen in the past few days” said ERCOT spokesperson Theresa Gage on Thursday. “Everyone in the ERCOT market – from our operators to generators to transmission providers to retailers – is doing what they can to keep the power on for consumers.”
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The most recent set of record-breaking numbers eclipsed the previous record of 71,110 MW set in August 2016.
With high temperatures ranging from 103 to 110 degrees each afternoon, North Texas remains under an Excessive Heat Warning until 7 p.m. Sunday and the statewide peak usage record may be toppled several more times. During that same time period, head indices may exceed 110 degrees.
Earlier in the week, ERCOT said operators are constantly monitoring the grid's condition to keep power flowing uninterrupted. So far, there have been no calls from ERCOT to conserve power or curtail usage during the peak ours between 3 p.m. and 5 p.m.
A single megawatt supplies enough energy to power roughly 200 homes during periods of high use.
ERCOT oversees 90 percent of Texas' power grid, powering about 24 million customers in DFW, Houston, San Antonio, Austin, Corpus Christi, Abilene and the Rio Grande Valley. A map of the ERCOT region can be seen here.
With such oppressive heat in the forecast, North Texans are reminded to check on their friends and loved ones with health problems as they may be among the most susceptible to heat exhaustion and heat stroke.
As always, never leave young children or pets unattended in an enclosed vehicle, even for a short amount of time, as temperatures can quickly rise to threatening levels.
Pets should not be left unattended outdoors for more than a few minutes.
Water is the cornerstone to staying safe this week, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Officials said it's important to start drinking before becoming thirsty and if you know you're going to be out in the heat, begin drinking water the night before.
Officials recommend staying indoors, but anyone who must be outside should drink a cup of water about every 20 minutes and wear lightweight, loose-fitting clothing.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the symptoms of heat stroke include hot, dry skin or profuse sweating; hallucinations, chills, throbbing headache, high body temperature, confusion/dizziness and slurred speech.
Take the following steps to treat a worker with heat stroke: Call 911 and notify their supervisor. Move the sick worker to a cool shaded area. Cool the worker using methods such as: Soaking their clothes with water. Spraying, sponging, or showering them with water. Fanning their body.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the symptoms of heat exhaustion include heavy sweating, extreme weakness or fatigue, dizziness and confusion, nausea, clammy or moist skin, pale or flushed complexion, muscle cramps, slightly elevated body temperature and fast or shallow breathing.
Treat a worker suffering from heat exhaustion with the following: Have them rest in a cool, shaded or air-conditioned area. Have them drink plenty of water or other cool, nonalcoholic beverages. Have them take a cool shower, bath, or sponge bath.