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Power crews work to restore power to thousands after ice-covered trees damage power lines

Posted at 8:44 PM, Feb 03, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-03 21:44:01-05

After a historic arctic blast last February caused power outages across the state, Texans braced for a repeat.

A year ago, a winter storm took down much of the Texas power grid leaving most Texans without electricity or heat for days.

Luckily that didn’t happen with this storm, but we are still seeing outages in parts of the state.

This year, the Governor assures Texans that the power grid is going strong.

”At the expected peak demand, there should be about 10,000 megawatts of extra power capacity. To put that in context, that is about enough extra power to supply about 2-million homes.” said Greg Abbott, Governor of Texas.

Though we didn’t have a repeat of last year’s disaster, tens of thousands of people lost power Thursday.

An issue Governor Abbot says is not caused by power grid failures.

”So, how can that be that there are people in the state of Texas without power if the grid is fully functioning and has ample power supply? The reason is because of issues with local power providers.” said Abbott.

This time around, Oncor is reporting over 500 outages on Thursday afternoon that were affecting nearly 20,000 people.

Though that seems like a huge number, it is a fraction of the numbers from last year and only in parts of the state.

”Right now, the bulk of the damage, the bulk of the reports of damage that we are seeing are in the Metroplex itself and in areas just slightly to the north.” said Jen Myers, meteorologist and Oncor spokesperson.

Most of the damage was to power lines, due to the amount of ice built up on nearby trees.

”We’ve seen so many photos of even trees just split from all that extra weight just weighing down the tree and when that happens, unfortunately the tree can impact lines and impact service.” said Myers.

They say they are working hard to fix the damage with the help of crews from out of state.

”They’re going to work in 16-hour shifts, 24-hours a day, and not just our crews. We’ve also got 1,700 folks from mutual assistance that have come in from up to 10 different states as far away as Florida.”

While crews are working around the clock, it will take time to clear trees and get the linemen in to do repairs.

So, Oncor is asking for patience as the work to get everyone’s lights back on.