Winter Storm in Texas Leaves Millions Without Power

Winter Storm in Texas Leaves Millions Without Power

Isabel Webb Carey
Isabel Webb Carey
|
February 16, 2021

In response to the massive winter storm that hit Texas on Sunday, Gov. Greg Abbott deploys the National Guard and other resources Monday afternoon as millions continue to deal with power outages.

Abbott had previously issued a disaster declaration in all 254 state counties, in which he described the “imminent threat” of property damage, injury and deaths. The governor urged Texans to stay home and minimize use of electricity as the state’s power grid and roads struggle to cope with the weather. Texas has already seen storm-related accidents after Thursday’s 133-car pileup on an iced-over interstate that left six dead.

The governor has since deployed the National Guard and other resources in aid to storm efforts. It will conduct welfare checks and transport Texans to the 135 warming centers. In addition, resources have been sent from the state departments of public safety, military, parks and wildlife, forest services, transportation, and emergency medical task force.

The state’s electric grid operator Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) lost control of the power supply Monday morning, cutting off 2 million Texas households from heat or other electric appliances as they faced freezing temperatures. As of Tuesday morning, more than 4 million Texans are without power. In response to the record demand for electricity, ERCOT announced rolling blackouts of 45 minute intervals. However, many areas have been left without power for nearly 24 hours.

ERCOT recently announced that some customers should have power restored Tuesday afternoon. 

House Speaker Dade Phalen (TX-R) is calling for a joint legislative hearing between the House State Affairs and Energy Resources Committees to review the statewide blackouts.

He tweeted: “We must cut through the finger-pointing and hear directly from stakeholders about the factors that contributed to generation staying down at a time when families needed it most, what our state can do to correct these issues, and what steps regulators and grid operators are taking to safeguard our electric grid.”

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Isabel Webb Carey

Isabel Webb Carey

Isabel Webb Carey attends the University of Texas at Austin in the Plan II Honors Program with a certificate in Core Texts and Ideas. Her interests include education, local governance, sustainability, and equity. Isabel enjoys dancing, hiking, and live music. She is also a staff writer for the Texas Orator. Email her at isabelwebbcarey@gmail.com
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