Last summer’s heat wave, pushed Texas’ electric power grid to its limit. On Aug. 3, power demand approached 70,000 megawatts, or 96 percent of the state’s generating capacity. Had a major plant gone offline, many businesses and households would have experienced brownouts or blackouts.

Luckily, as a result of voluntary curtailments by large electricity consumers, that did not happen.
Summer 2012 has just begun, but on June 11, an unusually warm day, ERCOT — the state’s grid operator — asked large power consumers across the state to reduce electricity usage. ERCOT will likely issue many more “curtailment” requests over the next several months.

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