El Paso Electric breaks power-consumption records amid heat wave

El Paso Electric has shattered power-consumption records four days in the last three weeks because of a monster heat wave gripping the region for over a month.

El Paso Electric officials didn’t expect to hit the power peak levels this summer until 2029.

Besides the unprecedented weeks of triple-digit temperatures, the growth of refrigerated air conditioners in El Paso homes is a big reason for the increased power demand, Omar Gallegos, EPE vice president of transportation and distribution, said at a Friday press conference about the record electricity demand.

The company avoided major power outages during the heat wave. However, just over 300 neighborhood power outages have occurred in the last four weeks, primarily because of power transformer failures, Gallegos said.

El Paso Electric's Rio Grande power plant, at 3501 Doniphan Drive in Sunland Park, New Mexico, as seen July 21, is one of the company's four natural gas-fired power plants producing electricity for the El Paso area.

Just over half of the company’s customers use refrigerated air, he said. For years, evaporated air conditioners that use much less power but consume less water have been the main mode of air conditioning for El Paso homes.

The company has about 460,000 customers in West Texas and southern New Mexico.

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