HOUSTON – We typically see our hottest days in June, July and August. But it’s May, and we’re already seeing 90-degree scorchers across parts of the country.
Energy expert and University of Houston Chief Energy Officer Ramanan Krishnamoorti said it means more people turning up their air conditioners and using more electricity.
“As we all turn up our ACs, we start to draw more power, and there’s only so much available supply, and so, when the supply and demand of electricity becomes tight, that’s when the grid becomes unstable,” Krishnamoorti explained.
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He said as warmer temperatures arrive, many power stations across the country are simply not prepared for the heat.
“Typically, it doesn’t get this hot this early, right? And we caught a few of the power plants a little bit off guard because the hottest weather is June, July, August and maybe September,” Krishnamoorti added. “These guys were thinking, ‘June is when I need to be 100% ready.’ So, they’re doing last-minute maintenance, making sure that everything is ready to go, then boom, the weather comes back suddenly to say, ‘Hey, you better be ready in May.'”
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Energy grids control how energy is moved from where it’s created to where it’s needed, like our homes and office buildings. Krishnamoorti said an unstable grid could lead to failure, which then makes the price that Americans pay for electricity soar.
It’s similar to what happened during the Texas winter storm, when energy companies billed customers roughly 300 times the the normal price of electricity.
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“If we were to try to run our house for a day at that rate, you end up paying your monthly bill in one day,” Krishnamoorti said.
He also noted that as these blazing temperatures affect energy grids across the country, a growing business sector and population in Texas provide additional challenges to the energy grid.