Get Ready To Conserve Electricity. ERCOT's Forecast Says This Summer Could Be Rough

Heads up, guys. Remember last summer? It was so damned hot Texans were horse-whipping their thermostats. We came this close to rolling blackouts. So close we're pretty sure Public Utility commish Ken Anderson lost some years off of his life, or at least a little hair. We'd like to tell you this summer won't suck too, but then we'd be lying to you.

The degree to which it will suck, however, remains a mystery. Grid manager ERCOT put out its summer forecast Tuesday, and to say that they're cautiously optimistic would be like saying I'm cautiously optimistic that the Mavs will come back to beat Oklahoma City. Could happen, but let's be honest: It's not happening.

ERCOT and the Public Utility Commission have tentatively raised the wholesale price ceiling for electricity, hoping to lure mothballed power plants back into service. So far, the promise of extra dough has brought an additional 430 megawatts back online, enough to power more than 80,000 homes. Consequently, it may also require the use of Mack trucks to haul off all the cash that generators are going to make this summer.

ERCOT has also expanded a program paying companies with big diesel generators to inject electricity into the grid during emergencies. Still, expect the grid manager to beg you to take it easy on the A/C.

So long as this summer isn't as hellacious as the last, and the heat doesn't knock a bunch of power plants offline -- and we actually do take it easy on the A/C -- we should squeak by.

Then again, as commissioner Anderson put it last month: "Anybody who bets money on Texas weather is bound to lose."

KEEP THE DALLAS OBSERVER FREE... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Brantley Hargrove