Texas power use breaks record for second day in heat wave

People react to a period of hot weather in Houston

(Reuters) -Demand for power in Texas hit a record high for a second day in a row on Thursday as homes and business kept air conditioners cranked up during a lingering heat wave.

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), which operates the grid for more than 26 million customers representing about 90% of the state's power load, has said it has enough resources available to meet soaring demand.

Texas residents have worried about extreme weather since a deadly storm in February 2021 left millions without power, water and heat for days as ERCOT scrambled to prevent a grid collapse after the closure of an unusually large amount of generation.

After setting 11 peak demand records last summer, ERCOT said usage hit a preliminary 81,406 megawatts (MW) on Thursday, topping the record hit one day earlier, of 81,351 MW.

Thursday's high was the grid's third all-time high this summer - June 27 was the first. ERCOT expects usage will set another record on Friday.

One megawatt can power around 1,000 U.S. homes on a typical day, but only about 200 homes on a hot summer day in Texas.

Meteorologists at AccuWeather forecast high temperatures in Houston, the biggest city in Texas, would hit 100 degrees Fahrenheit (37.8 Celsius) almost every day from July 13-19. That compares with a normal high of 94 F for this time of year.

With the heat building, next-day or spot prices at the ERCOT North Hub, which includes Dallas, jumped to a three-week high of $123 per megawatt hour for Thursday from $39 for Wednesday. That compares with an average of $34 so far this year, $78 in 2022 and a five-year (2018-2022) average of $66.

(Reporting by Scott DiSavino and Harshit Verma; Editing by Sandra Maler and Leslie Adler)