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ERCOT continues to restore Texas power for third day

Caitlin Cosper
By Caitlin Cosper February 18th, 2021
For business

ERCOT continues to restore power across Texas.

(Last updated: February 18, 1:30 p.m.)

As of Thursday, February 18, approximately 640,000 Texans remain without power amidst strong winter weather and freezing temperatures. For many households, this is the third straight day without electricity.

In a statement released Thursday, Dan Woodfin, ERCOT senior director of system operations, said, “We’re to the point in the load restoration where we are allowing transmission owners to bring back any load they can relate to this load shed event. We will keep working around the clock until every single customer has their power back on.”

ERCOT’s statement identified three categories of power customers that may still be without power, including:

  • Areas where the distribution system has been damaged by ice.
  • Areas that were taken out of service due to high energy demand and that need to be restored manually.
  • Large industrial facilities that went offline voluntarily to help with the spike in energy demand.

About 40,000 MW of power remain offline due to forced outages. ERCOT warns the rotating power outages may continue over the next few days.

Texas water supply endangered by power outages

On Wednesday, February 17, city and state officials across Texas warned residents of dangerously low water levels and that the water supply could be unsafe to drink. Residents have been advised to boil their household tap water before drinking it and to conserve as much water as possible.

According to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, approximately 590 public water systems across the Lone Star State reported service disruptions. This disruption in water affects almost 12 million Texans.

While Texans were advised earlier this week to let their pipes drip to avoid pipes bursting, they are now being told the opposite. On Wednesday morning, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner tweeted, “Water pressure is very low. Please do not run water to keep pipes from bursting. Turn off water if pipes have burst. Please contact us if you don’t know how to turn off water. Be conservative on water usage today. It is needed for hospitals and fires.”

TCEQ Executive Director Toby Baker blamed the issues with safe drinking water on power outages, frozen water lines, and households dripping their faucets and causing low water pressure.

Texas weather update and forecast

A second wave of winter weather was expected to hit Texas on Wednesday, February 17. Many regions of Texas remain near or below freezing. Currently, it is 26 degrees in Dallas and 35 degrees in Houston. Many major cities remain under a hard freeze warning.

Warmer temperatures are on the horizon for the Lone Star State as the storms continue to move east. According to The Weather Channel, most areas of Texas will reach above-freezing temperatures as early as this Saturday, February 20.

 

Caitlin Cosper

Energy Expert

Caitlin is a writer within the energy and power industry. Born in Georgia, she attended the University of Georgia before earning her master’s in English at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.