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ERCOT Says There Should Be Just Enough Juice To Keep Lights On This Summer, As Long As It Isn't Hot, Hot, Hotter Than Hell

ERCOT Says There Should Be Just Enough Juice To Keep Lights On This Summer, As Long As It Isn't Hot, Hot, Hotter Than Hell

Texas is in a tight spot. Electric supply simply isn't keeping up with consumer demand in a state bursting at the seams. By 2013, grid operator ERCOT predicts we won't have enough to cover peak demand, when we're all sweating and dashing for our thermostats.

Summer 2012, on the other hand, will be touch and go, but we just might eke by. "Based on the National Weather Service's three-month outlook, we are expecting above-normal temperatures this summer - though not as extreme as last summer's," ERCOT veep of system planning and grid operations Kent Saathoff said in a statement this afternoon. "If that's the case, we expect to be able to meet the peak demand on the grid, unless we have above-normal generation outages."

And that's one big "if," considering the extremes we've seen lately. Grid managers are forecasting peak electric demand below last summer's all-time record, but still high enough that if enough power plants are offline, we'll be looking at rotating outages.

ERCOT's board recently approved emergency measures that would allow the grid operator to bring idled generating units back online. It's also anticipating a report due June 1 that will take a look at the dearth of electric generation we're facing and how to solve it. Bets on whether it recommends increasing or removing the price cap on electricity?


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