How is Electricity Demand From Work Affecting ERCOT?
All through COVID-19, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) has kept the Texas power grid running. Businesses closed everywhere and people stayed in and worked from home. Now as the pandemic closes, more and more people are returning to work. This may have you wondering how the return to work impacts ERCOT and energy prices.
The Return to Work in Texas
At the start, the pandemic forced Texas companies to switch to remote work. And though ERCOT saw its business and commercial electric demand drop, residential demand rose. Sure, that seems like a simple truth. But overall usage amount didn’t actually change much. Curiously enough, the time for peak demand shifted during 2021 to later in the day.
However, as vaccination rates increase, companies have begun asking employees to return to the office. And since then, there has been a corresponding increase in their electricity demand. Likewise, home electricity usage fell. So, did the actual total electric demand in Texas change during COVID-19?
Is the Return to Work Impacting ERCOT?
To find out, let’s see what ERCOT planned in its Seasonal Assessment of Resource Adequacy (SARA) each spring from 2020 to 2022. The SARA estimates how much electricity consumers will use in a season. In 2020, the estimated peak demand was 64,233 MW. In the middle of the pandemic in 2021, estimated demand rose to 64,448 MW. And now, the spring 2022 SARA predicts an even higher peak demand forecast at 64,729 MW.
So is the return to work straining the ERCOT grid? Not really. In fact, people returning to work will most likely impact their own electricity usage. After all, they’ll spend less time at home so they’ll use less electricity at home. On the other hand, usage demand will likely shift to the workplace, instead. For that reason, the overall electricity usage amount in Texas won’t really change as people go back to work.
So, as it turns out, the return to work seems to have only affected the time of peak demand. However, there are other factors that put way more pressure on energy prices in Texas. Specifically, these include weather and the price of natural gas.
For right now, ERCOT’s 94,394 MW of resource capacity can cover the 2022 spring forecast. ERCOT also expects 1,027 MW more from new wind, solar, and battery projects. This means that the supply will meet the demand for the remainder of the season.
Now’s the Time to Shop for Cheaper Electricity Rates
Spring is an ideal time to shop for a fixed-term electric rate. That’s because the shoulder months often offer cheaper rates.
The best way to shop for electric rates is by comparing them. That’s how Texas Electricity Ratings can help you.
Visit https://www.texaselectricityratings.com/electric-rates to choose the best plan for your household.