How is Texas' power grid holding up as a winter storm grips much of the state?
Published in Weather News
AUSTIN, Texas — Gov. Greg Abbott on Tuesday assured Texans that the state’s power grid is working as a winter storm covers much of the state.
The Public Utility Commission expects to see some outages as a result of icing on electric infrastructure and power lines, but local outages do not mean there’s a problem with the grid, Abbott said from the State Operations Center in Austin.
“The power grid itself is functioning very efficiently as we speak right now, and there’s not anticipated to be any challenge to the power grid in the state of Texas,” he said.
Abbott instructed those who may experience an outage to check with their electricity provider for updates. Oncor delivers electricity to much of the Fort Worth area.
As of 4:24 p.m., the grid was operating under normal conditions with enough power to meet demand. There were 30,450 electricity customers experiencing power outages across the state as of 4:15 p.m., including 68 in Tarrant County, according to poweroutage.us.
In February 2021, the state experienced widespread outages and at least 246 people died when a freeze swept Texas.
Public Utility Commission Chairman Peter Lake said reforms put into place in the time since have been working for Texas. The state agency regulates Texas utilities, and has oversight of Texas’ power grid manager, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas.
ERCOT is not expecting to ask Texans to conserve power, said President and CEO Pablo Vegas.
“We have plenty of reserves to make sure that the ERCOT grid is stable and powered throughout this weather event,” Lake said. “As the governor said, the primary concern this week is icing at the local level. Accumulating on tree branches and power lines can lead to down lines and local outages.”
Texas Division of Emergency Management Chief Nim Kidd said power lines could be knocked out if people have wrecks and hit power lines, causing outages. He and other officials urged Texans to avoid driving if possible.
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