HOUSTON – We typically see our hottest days in June, July and August. But it’s May and we’re already seeing 90 degree burns in parts of the country.
Energy expert and University of Houston energy director Ramanan Krishnamoorti said that means more people are turning on their air conditioners and using more electricity.
“As we all turn up our air conditioners, we start to use more energy, and there’s only a limited amount of supply available, and so when electricity supply and demand tightens, that’s when the network becomes unstable,” Krishnamoorti explained.
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He said as temperatures warm, many power plants across the country are simply not prepared for the heat.
“It usually doesn’t get so hot this early, does it? And we caught a few power plants a bit off guard because the hottest weather is June, July, August and maybe September,” added Krishnamoorti. “These guys were thinking, ‘June is when I have to be 100 per cent ready.’ say, “Hey, you better be ready in May.”
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Energy networks control how energy is moved from where it is created to where it is needed, such as our homes and office buildings. Krishnamoorti said an unstable grid could lead to a failure, which would then skyrocket the price Americans pay for electricity.
It’s similar to what happened during the winter storm in Texas, when power companies charged customers about 300 times the normal price for electricity.
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“If we were to try to run our house for a day at this rate, you would end up paying your monthly bill in just one day,” Krishnamoorti said.
He also noted that as these searing temperatures affect energy grids across the country, a growing commercial sector and population in Texas pose additional challenges to the energy grid.