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ERCOT Predicts Another Grid-Busting Summer

U.S. Drought Monitor

National forecasters are predicting another hotter-than-normal summer. That could mean more of the rolling blackouts likes those San Antonio experienced in 2011.

Climatologists predict temperatures will be above normal this year and the power grid may not be able to keep up. The North American Electric Reliability Corporation projects the Texas grid will have the lowest percentage of power reserves this summer of any region in the country.

The problem is rapidly-growing demand combined with a lack of new power plants being built.

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) expects power demands this summer to peak at 68,383 MW, slightly above the 68,305 MW all-time record set Aug. 3, 2011.

When that happened, ERCOT issued a Level 1 Emergency Alert, asking consumers to conserve.

ERCOT said it may again ask Texans to conserve power on hot afternoons when air conditioners put extra strain on the grid. Rolling blackouts are possible if there is a repeat of record-breaking temperatures like those two years ago. 

The good news is that forecasters don’t expect this summer to be "as hot" as 2011.

Eileen Pace is a veteran radio and print journalist with a long history of investigative and feature reporting in San Antonio and Houston, earning more than 50 awards for investigative reporting, documentaries, long-form series, features, sports stories, outstanding anchoring and best use of sound.