Power Outages Across State May Last Through Tuesday
According to ONCOR, the power system in Texas is currently facing an unprecedented shortfall of electric generation. The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) has requested Oncor and utilities across the state to implement controlled power outages to reduce high demand and protect the integrity of the electric grid.
Initially outages were supposed to last anywhere from 30 to 45 minutes, however, the length of controlled outages have been significantly extended due to the current emergency grid conditions and severe cold weather. These outages are taking place across the service territory. The bad news, ERCOT has said they could be required through Tuesday.
Therefore, Oncor is telling customers to be prepared to be without power for an extended period of time. How are they defining extended, additional details were not provided.
The Texas power grid has not been compromised.
The ability of some companies that generate the power has been frozen.
This includes the natural gas & coal generators.
They are working to get generation back on line.
ERCOT & PUC are prioritizing residential consumers. https://t.co/wDiDXN17Fu
— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) February 15, 2021
On top of the controlled outages, Oncor is responding to separate outages caused by the record-breaking winter storm that continues to impact the entire service territory. Oncor phone lines and reporting systems are experiencing a record influx of inquiries as a result of these two events. Thus, many customers are only getting a busy signal or are unable to contact ONCOR via phone.
Dallas Officials Urge ONCOR To Cycle Power Outages
Meanwhile Dallas County Judge Jenkins says, “The situation with ERCOT
is very serious and unprecedented. If your conservation efforts and rolling blackouts are not successful, control of the grid could be lost. Oncor is working closely with my office and emergency managers.
At this time, Oncor cannot guarantee a maximum amount of time your power may be out. I have advised them that, to the fullest extent possible, neighborhoods should be cycled so we all share in the loss of power so as to lessen the time any neighborhood is without power.”
Mayor Eric Johnson, “The City Of Dallas is identifying sites (likely library branches and rec centers) for warming centers as these rolling power outages have not rolled as expected. We need to ensure the sites will have power. Dallas OEM
is working with Oncor to make it happen.”
DO NOT REPORT OUTAGES
Oncor says, Customers do not need to report their outages at this time. Crews are currently making repairs so that when electric generation is available it can be delivered. They urge any customer who is experiencing a life threatening or emergency event to please call 911.
ONCOR says they 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 protect the integrity of the Texas grid.
A factor in the strain on the state’s power grid: almost half of Texas’ installed wind power generation capacity has been offline. Texas grid operators report frozen wind turbines in West Texas, those turbines account for roughly 23% of the state’s power supply.
Questions & Answers From Oncor
Q: Why is my power out?
There are two major issues right now: winter storm outages and controlled power outages directed by ERCOT, which serve to reduce high demand and protect the integrity of the electric grid. Due to the fast moving nature of these two power emergency events, we are not currently able to break down the difference in outages on our Oncor Outage Map.
Q: When will my power be restored?
Given the unique combination of lack of generation and historic winter storm damage, estimated restoration times are not yet known. For outages related to the winter storm, our crews continue working around the clock to restore power. However, continued winter impacts such as extreme cold, treacherous road conditions and ice buildup is impacting progress.
Controlled outages related to grid supply and demand have been significantly extended due to the current emergency grid conditions and severe cold weather. In order to preserve the reliability of the grid, ERCOT has said that additional generation will be needed before power can be restored.
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.
Q: Why are some homes out for hours and others for minutes or not at all?
Again, there are two major issues affecting many of customers right now: winter storm outages and controlled power outages directed by ERCOT. We are using all designated power lines for controlled outages so that hospitals and other critical infrastructure remains intact and system stability is preserved. This means that customers near critical facilities, or those in limited areas where rolling outages won’t take place in order to maintain grid stability, may not experience outages, while those farther from these facilities or areas may be out multiple times or for longer instances.
Additionally, during instances of substantial generation drop, there are safeguards built into the system that drop power loads automatically in order to prevent cascading widespread outages, or ultimately a blackout. These are designed to be shorter term drops that are reset quicker than controlled outages to prepare for the next response opportunity.
Q: When will power generation plants come back on-line?
Due to the severe winter storm, we do not know and it is outside of our control. Conditions for power generation continue to be very serious and the combination of winter weather and reduced generation is unprecedented in the state of Texas. We are prepared for emergency operations to continue for at least several days.