4 Million Texans Without Power Amid Grid Collapse, As Second Storm Nears
Four million Texans are without power Tuesday morning after a polar vortex split poured Arctic air into the region, collapsing the state’s power grid, forcing grid operators to impose rolling blackouts because of higher power demand.
The PowerOutage.us website, which tracks power outages, said four million Texas customers were experiencing outages at 0630 ET Tuesday.
Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo tweeted that a weather-related death was reported Monday night. He said exposure to “extremely low temperatures” was the cause of death.
Very sad about the death of a male subject in our city. Please seek shelter tonight. Temperature is already down to 20 degrees with windchill of 6 degrees. pic.twitter.com/5NSu8Wa155
— Chief Art Acevedo (@ArtAcevedo) February 16, 2021
Acevedo tweeted, “Please pray for our elderly and vulnerable populations tonight. With the 2nd consecutive night of massive power outages and frigid cold, many lives are at risk. State of Texas leaders must do better, lives depend on it.”
Refinitiv data shows Texas continues to deal with Arctic air, now stretching for the fifth day.
Below-average Texas temperatures will likely clear out by the end of the weekend.
ERCOT wholesale electricity prices topped the grid’s price cap of $9,000 per megawatt-hour several times in the overnight session. Reminding readers, ERCOT prices are usually around $25/MWh.
Meanwhile, rolling blackouts have set off a chain reaction of problems. RT News reports “some water treatment plants and cell phone networks” are offline.
Several metro areas across central Texas warned of water issues.
Due to a prolonged power outage at the water treatment plant, Pflugerville is under a boil water notice. We are working with Oncor to restore power, but until further notice, all city water customers must boil their water prior to consumption. (1/3) pic.twitter.com/alhpeSfyaN
— Pflugerville, TX (@PflugervilleTX) February 15, 2021
Cellular networks started to go offline as “backup generators at towers are freezing or running out of fuel or both,” tweeted County Judge KP George.
Cell phone service is starting to break down over the region as back up generators at towers are freezing or running out of fuel or both.
Increasing outages will be possible overnight.
— County Judge KP George (@JudgeKPGeorge) February 16, 2021
Governor Greg Abbott wrote on Twitter that “Texas power grid has not been compromised.” However, millions of Texans are unhappy with his response to the grid crisis that has sparked chaos across the state. He deployed National Guard troops to assist the state in relief efforts.
Living in Texas sounds like a third-world country. Here’s a tweet from Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins:
“The additional shed coupled with increased demand will likely increase blackout numbers and times. We should discuss how Texas let this happen. I understand your anger. I’m angry too. But tonight-right now- is about human and animal survival. Check on and help one another!”
President Joe Biden declared an emergency on Monday for the Lone Star State, where temperatures in some areas hovered near zero.
The freeze also took a toll on the state’s energy industry, the country’s largest crude refinery shuttered operations on Monday. Over the weekend, natural gas pipelines had restricted flow as wellheads froze.
… and the worst might not be over as a second winter storm could batter the state by midweek.
Tue, 02/16/2021 – 08:20