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09/03/2013

ERCOT says there's plenty of power for fall and winter

There should be an adequate supply of electricity to meet fall and winter peak demand, which generally is less than the summer peak season, the operator of the state's biggest power grid said Tuesday.  "The system appears to be well-prepared for fall electric needs, and that outlook continues into the coming winter months," Warren Lasher, director of system planning for the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, said in a prepared release. ERCOT's seasonal outlook projects about 74,000 megawatts of available supply in October and November, versus estimated peak demand of about 47,000 megawatts. One megawatt is roughly enough to serve 200 Texas residences during a period of high demand, such as a hot summer day, and about 500 homes during milder conditions. It's likely ERCOT has already seen its peak demand for 2013 -- 67,180 megawatts registered on Aug. 7. That's short of the all-time record of 68,305 megawatts on Aug. 3, 2011, during a record hot summer.

ERCOT said the December to February winter season should be able to draw on about 75,000 megawatts of supply, versus demand expected to peak at about 48,000 megawatts. About half the homes in Texas use natural gas instead of electricity for heat, which reduces electric demand considerably. ERCOT meteorologist Chris Coleman said October could see some hot days, but November is expected to be cooler than normal.

-- Jim Fuquay

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