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NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) – There are currently 150,000 remaining Oncor customers without power, according to a release from the electric utility.
The remaining outages are a result from damage from Wednesday’s winter storm, previous winter weather and storm damage that could not be identified until equipment was re-energized, and damage to electric equipment caused by record-breaking low temperatures.
ERCOT directed Oncor and other utilities on Wednesday to begin restoring power previously dropped from the electric grid. ONCOR says that as a result of the increased generation and stable demand, it was able to cease controlled, or rotating, outages.
In a statement, ONCOR acknowledged the difficulties faced by customers, saying:
“Our personnel will continue working 24/7 to restore power to these remaining customers. We recognize the hardships that this power emergency has caused for our customers and communities. We appreciate their patience as we awaited the return of electric generation and protected the Texas electric grid.”
However, due to the large amounts of system activity surrounding power restoration, ONCOR expects it will “take some time” for its tracking systems to accurately reflect updates in its outage map.
As CBS 11 reported Tuesday, Bruce Bullock, Director of the Maguire Energy Institute at SMU, said ERCOT doesn’t rely on wind and solar energy as much during the winter months.
He said the power plants fueled by natural gas went offline because they had mechanical problems or they couldn’t get natural gas delivered.
Independent energy experts have questioned whether ERCOT followed the recommendations from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to better winterize the state’s power grid after a cold snap hit Texas in 2011.
While the state’s power grid is separate and isn’t regulated by the FERC, CEO Bill Magness said ERCOT did take action.
“There was a tremendous amount of effort at the state level, as well as the federal to look at those winterization issues and make sure those were being done. And a lot of work went into that. Actually, we had weather in 2018 that was similar to the weather we saw in 2011 in the winter and we saw much better performance. Obviously, there were some challenges that weren’t met this time.”
Governor Greg Abbott has called this situation a total failure by ERCOT, and he and state lawmakers are demanding answers.
Some leaders are also calling for resignations.
“There should be absolutely investigations and assessments of what happened. Right now the number one priority is to get power back on for Texans,” said Magness.