Texas Spot Power Drops to 7-Week Low as Storm Cuts Demand

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Texas spot wholesale electricity slid to a seven-week low after a stormy weekend across the state flooded Houston and left tens of thousands of customers without lights.

Power use on the grid managed by the Electric Reliability Council of Texas Inc. was about 5 percent lower than the day-ahead forecast from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. local time, according to the operator’s website.

CenterPoint Energy Inc., which distributes electricity to more than 2.2 million customers in Houston and nearby areas, reported that 50,155 customers were without power as of 12:58 p.m. Texas utilities operated by Entergy Corp. and Energy Future Holdings also reported outages.

“We aren’t having system-wide issues in the Ercot region related to the flooding,” Robbie Searcy, spokeswoman for the Texas grid based in Austin, said in an e-mail. “Currently, impacts are limited to localized distribution system issues in affected areas.”

Average spot on-peak electricity at Ercot’s Houston hub was down $2.11, or 9.6 percent, so far Tuesday to $19.89 a megawatt-hour as of 1 p.m. local time, heading for the lowest daily average since April 3.

On-peak hours on the grid are from 7 a.m. until 10 p.m. Hourly prices slipped most of the day before rising $3.51, or 16 percent, to $25.07 in the hour ended at 1 p.m. from the same hour on May 22. Monday was considered an off-peak day in observance of the Memorial Day holiday.

Entergy Outages

Entergy Texas reported about 17,242 customers without power just before 1 p.m., according to its website. Energy Future’s Oncor utility had 6,921 customers without power as of 8:47 a.m.

Electricity use across Ercot was 42,618 megawatts at 12:48 p.m., down 6.6 percent from the same hour a week earlier, according to the grid operator’s website.

Demand is projected to stay below 50,000 megawatts Tuesday, and “there is sufficient generation scheduled and available to serve expected demand,” Searcy said. Eroct previously expected demand to peak at 50,746 megawatts in the hour ending at 5 p.m.

“We have had mild temperatures for most of May, and demand has exceeded 50,000 MW only a few intervals since cold-weather demand earlier this year,” Searcy said.

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