ERCOT rang in the new year by breaking an 18-day-old record for winter electricity demand six times within 14 hours, thanks to an early-January Arctic front that brought sub-freezing temperatures to Central Texas.
Demand reached 59,650 MW during the 6 p.m. interval on Jan. 6, smashing the previous winter record of 57,924 MW set Dec. 19. The record was topped five more times before 9 a.m. the following morning.
ERCOT had forecast a winter peak of 58,591 MW.
The new winter peak easily surpassed the previous January record of 57,256 MW recorded in 2014.
December peak demand was up 29% year over year, with the short-lived record far exceeding the 44,934-MW monthly peak seen a year earlier.
Last month marked the fifth straight month the Texas grid operator set a new record for monthly peak demand, dating back to August. Electricity consumption was up 11.2% in November, while the previous three months were all up less than 4%.
Overall, the ERCOT system produced 351.5 million MWh of electricity in 2016, just above the forecast of 350.6 million MWh.