On Thursday, the Public Utility Commission of Texas expressed concern that generators haven’t had enough time to perform seasonal maintenance ahead of summer. The risk: summertime maintenance amid stronger heat can lead to supply shortages and potentially rolling blackouts.
The spring maintenance season typically ends in late May, but outages this year will likely slip into the first half of June, said Michele Richmond, executive director of Texas Competitive Power Advocates, a generator industry group.
Texas is already experiencing heat. The high in Houston on Friday reached 92 degrees Fahrenheit (33.3 degrees Celsius), six degrees above average, according to AccuWeather. Widespread heat is expected to intensify over the weekend and next week, according to Ercot. Highs of 95 to 105 degrees will be common next week, with places in West Texas reaching 110 degrees.
Houston spot power prices on Friday briefly jumped above the $5,000 a megawatt-hour price cap at about 5 p.m. local time with the rest of the grid topping $4,000, according to Ercot’s website.
Ercot’s call to conserve power extends between 3 pm and 8 pm local time through the weekend.