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ERCOT says they're ready for summer heat, experts not convinced

Posted at 6:38 PM, Jun 06, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-06 19:38:30-04

WACO, Texas — Texans might notice an increase in their electric bills this summer. Experts say electric prices in Texas have increased by as much as 70 percent from this time last year.

"It's a huge increase and of course, this really has a tremendous impact on the middle class and poor consumers because this is a big chunk of their monthly budget," University of Houston Energy Fellow Ed Hirs said.

The costs are climbing along with the temperatures outside, which is driving up power demand to keep homes in Texas cool this summer.

TX State Climatologist Dr. John Nielson-Gammon recently told 25 News that warmer weather is likely here to stay.

"From a climate perspective, one important challenge is the temperatures are continuing to inch up or they've gone up about two degrees Fahrenheit from the average over the previous century," he said. "And so our energy supplies are going to need to be resilient to the future climate as well as the fast climate."

As warmer weather comes early, so do fears that the Texas grid can't stand the heat.

"It's June 6th and we're already hitting August-like demand loads and August-like temperatures," Hirs said. "The question is how robust is the grid?"

While ERCOT declined an interview, it did release a statement to 25 News that it expects "sufficient generation to meet forecasted demand."

Hirs said he is not convinced and the state's grid operator undercounts just how many consumers there are in the state.

"Since 2010, the Texas economy has grown from 1.25 trillion to 1.99 trillion last year," he said. "The amount of natural gas, coal, and nuclear generation on the ERCOT grid has actually shrunk during that time."