The demand for electricity by Texans reached an all-time high over the weekend as the Lone Star State battled an intense heat wave that pushed temperatures for many residents into triple-digit territory.
Texas' power grid, which serves only the state, has been a focus of state and national concern since it buckled in the face of a February 2021 winter storm that caused the largest extensive U.S. power blackout in nearly 20 years and was blamed for more than 200 deaths. Officials insisted this spring they have learned from the episode and that the grid can handle the expected heavy summer demand.
Power usage topped out around 75 gigawatts late Sunday afternoon, surpassing the previous record for electricity usage set before the pandemic in August 2019, according to the Electric Reliability Council of Texas.
Estimates vary, but one gigawatt can power several hundred thousand homes. Each one is equivalent to about 3.1 million solar panels, according to the Department of Energy.
The Texas grid was able to sustain the demand without blackouts or asking residents to limit usage. Energy analysts and experts have warned that the coming summer months could bring hotter-than-usual temperatures, resulting in record demand and rolling blackouts throughout the country.
The Electric Reliability Council of Texas, which serves more than 26 million Texas customers and represents roughly 90% of the state's electric load, last issued warnings to conserve power back in May during a heat wave and power plant outages.