NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Despite the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) — which is the state’s primary power grid operator — restoring power to more than half-a-million homes across the state Tuesday night, hundreds of thousands of North Texans are still in the dark and without heat.
Some generation is slowly returning.
ERCOT was able to direct utilities to restore 600,000 households last night.
2.7 million households still do not have power.
— ERCOT (@ERCOT_ISO) February 17, 2021
This is the third straight day that so many North Texans woke up in the cold and dark. Officials confirmed that as of sunrise Thursday more than 2.7 million Texans were without power and at last check there was no timeline for when power will be fully restored. Officials with ERCOT said that as they fix problems caused by the storm and generate new supplies of energy they will be able to serve more demand.
ERCOT said that while they saw the winter storm heading to Texas it was a too late, because they had not winterized the system and that is what has left providers struggling to source power.
Kerry Dunn, with Oncor, told CBS 11 News, “There are still serious generation issues. There’s just not enough generation, not enough supply. Until that changes, we can’t get power restored, because again there’s not power to deliver.”
The information is little comfort for people who have been without power for more than 48 hours now.
Even ERCOT agrees their performance has been unacceptable. They say it appears a lot of the power generation that is currently offline is due to issues with the natural gas system.
Dan Woodfin, senior director of system operations at ERCOT, said, “It’s completely appropriate that we look at an issue like this and we investigate how we can avoid this sort of extended period of people not having power, with these outages, in the future.” As for a possible investigation into the outage by state policy makers Woodfin said, “We’re happy to participate in that and we’ll cooperate.”
ERCOT said the outages were necessary to save the power grid from complete collapse, which they said would have happened if portions weren’t shutdown.
Officials with ERCOT did make clear that they aren’t the ones who decide who goes offline and loses power, that is determined by electric delivery providers like Oncor.
Wednesday morning Oncor issued a statement that said, in part —
“There continues to be a lack of available generation, and as a result, controlled outages remain in place as directed by ERCOT. Due to lowered power demand overnight, Oncor and other utilities were able to restore some of the previously dropped power load and increase our capability to rotate some outages throughout the territory. Even with this increased capability, we still have many customers who continue to experience extended outages.”
At the height of the storm more than 2 million homes and businesses across the state of Texas lost power. To help restore electricity the state has also requested dozens of generators from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.