Heat-strapped Texas expects another power record


HOUSTON | Mon Aug 29, 2011 8:16am EDT

HOUSTON (Reuters) - The Texas power grid operator said electric usage this week could break the all-time peak seen earlier this month and urged consumers to reduce power use to avoid rolling outages.

A brutal heatwave now entering its fifth week has strained the state's power generating supply and pushed power prices to record levels.

Extreme heat covering the state led to record weekend power use Saturday and Sunday as Texans cranked up air conditioners to cope with triple-digit temperatures and drought.

Houston, the state's biggest metropolitan area, hit 109 Fahrenheit Saturday and is forecast to see a high of 102 Monday. Dallas hit 106 on Saturday and is projected to hit 105 Monday.

That heat led ERCOT to set back-to-back weekend power use records as demand soared above 65,100 megawatts on Saturday afternoon, then hit 65,159 MW on Sunday, according to initial data posted on the ERCOT website.

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