DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – More than 250,000 customers were without power on Friday morning as a chilly winter storm dumped ice across North Texas. Utility company Oncor deployed more than 2,500 workers, contractors and employees from other companies in an attempt to restore electricity. By Friday afternoon, crews had restored power to thousands of customers, but outages were still reported for more than 200,000 customers.
Crews arrived from as far away as Florida to help DFW residents with the power outages.
Oncor began preparing for the winter storm on Monday, first by reaching out to utility companies that were not going to be impacted by the treacherous weather. They also rearranged employee schedules to ensure that plenty of workers would be on hand for the predicted icy weather — which arrived in full force on Thursday night and Friday morning.
Oncor COO Jim Greer explained, “With winter storms like this one, we see ice accumulate on tree limbs over time and new outages can continue for several hours, or even days, after the storm blows through, as trees finally give way to the weight of the ice. That’s what we are preparing for here.”
Greer added that Oncor crews are spread out across the Metroplex, either working on current power outages or on standby, ready to act when additional outages are reported. Customers can report a power outage by texting ‘OUT’ to 66267 or by visiting this website which also shows an outage map and predicted restoration times.
However, utility workers are forced to navigate the same slick roads as all other North Texas drivers, so winter storm repair times often take longer, simply because it takes longer for crews to reach the affected areas.
Until work crews can reach the situation, Greer cautioned North Texans to stay away from downed power lines and tree limbs. “Safety of our employees and the public is our number one priority, so it’s important that people always assume that any downed power line is energized and dangerous. Many people don’t realize that tree limbs can conduct electricity and, by just touching them, customers are at risk of electrocution,” Greer said. “It’s imperative that customers keep their families and pets away from downed lines and immediately call 911.”
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