Power lines in Carlsbad
Power lines in Carlsbad. REUTERS/Mike Blake

Power and natural gas prices in California and Texas spiked to multi-month highs this week as homes and businesses cranked up their air-conditioners to escape brutal heat waves.

In California, the California Independent System Operator, which operates most of the state’s power grid, told consumers to prepare to conserve energy if needed.

In Texas, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, which operates most of the state’s power system, urged consumers on Monday to conserve energy to prevent high demand and generator outages from straining the grid.

Both grids have imposed rotating outages over the last year to avoid widespread collapses of their power systems — California in August 2020 and Texas in February 2021.

Rotating outages are supposed to leave a limited number of customers without service for short periods of time before switching to another group of customers. But in Texas, ERCOT received criticism after millions of homes and businesses were left in the dark — many for days.

The California ISO forecast power demand would reach 40,205 megawatts on Tuesday and 42,152 on Wednesday. That compares with the grid’s all-time peak of 50,270 megawatts in July 2006.

To meet coming peaks and have enough power in reserve, the ISO said it expects to have about 50,734 megawatts of supply available this summer.

Reuters contributed to this article.

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.