Hundreds of thousands of Texans are still without power.
It’s been over 24 hours now, and hundreds of thousands of people throughout Texas are still without power amidst an unprecedented winter storm. With temperatures still dwindling in the single digits, Oncor has announced that outages will likely continue for an indefinite period of time. [Featured image: @lyneltn206 via Unsplash]
Mass reports of power outages in Austin first occurred early Monday morning. As the day went on, so did more and more residents lose power. With the demand for energy at unprecedented levels, ERCOT issued a level 3 energy emergency alert. As a last ditch effort to provide residents with power, ERCOT resorted to temporary rolling outages in residential neighborhoods.
“ERCOT has issued an EEA level 3 because electric demand is very high right now, and supplies can’t keep up,” the company wrote on its website. “Reserves have dropped below 1,000 MW and are not expected to recover within 30 minutes; as a result, ERCOT has ordered transmission companies to reduce demand on the system.”
“In these situations, each utility is required to lower the demand on its system based on its percentage of the historic ERCOT peak demand. While each utility is responsible for determining how to implement the required demand reduction, most utilities use rotating outages for this purpose. Rotating outages primarily affect residential neighborhoods and small businesses and are typically limited to 10 to 45 minutes before being rotated to another location.”
With many at home without power, the Oncor announced that outages would likely persist.
“The length of controlled outages have been significantly extended due to the current emergency grid conditions and severe cold weather,” the company announced yesterday.
“These outages are taking place across the service territory and ERCOT has said they could be required through Tuesday. We are asking all Oncor customers to be prepared to be without power for an extended period of time. In addition, we are responding to separate outages caused by the record-breaking winter storm that continues to impact our entire service territory. Customers do not need to report their outages at this time. We are doing everything possible to respond to each of these power emergency events. We remain in close coordination with ERCOT and we appreciate everyone’s patience as we do all we can to protect the integrity of the Texas grid.”
As the time of this article, Tuesday morning, the National Weather Service has reiterated the Wind Chill Warning with temperatures as low as -10 degrees until noon today. Furthermore, NWS has issued another Winter Storm Warning from 6 pm to 6 am Thursday, with the chance of freezing rain precipitating after 6 pm.
With conditions as they are, officials have asked residents to conserve energy if possible. You can do this by unplugging unnecessary appliances such as washer and dryers, closing the blinds and curtains to conserve heat in the residence, place towels in door cracks, and turn thermostats down to 68 degrees or below.