The Texas power system is currently facing an unprecedented shortfall of electric generation. The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) has requested Oncor and utilities across the state to implement controlled power outages to reduce high demand and protect the integrity of the electric grid.
The length of these controlled outages have been significantly extended due to the current emergency grid conditions and severe cold weather. These outages are taking place across the service territory and ERCOT has said they could be required through Tuesday. We are asking all Oncor customers to be prepared to be without power for an extended period of time.
In addition, we are responding to separate outages caused by the record-breaking winter storm that continues to impact our entire service territory. Oncor phone lines and reporting systems are experiencing a record influx of inquiries as a result of these two events, which may prevent customers from getting into contact with one of our agents.
Customers do not need to report their outages at this time. Our crews continue to make repairs from the storm so that when electric generation is available it can be delivered. We urge any customer who is experiencing a life threatening or emergency event to please call 911.
We are doing everything possible to respond to each of these power emergency events. We remain in close coordination with ERCOT and we appreciate everyone’s patience as we protect the integrity of the Texas grid.
Q: Why is my power out?
There are two major issues affecting many of customers right now: winter storm outages and controlled power outages directed by ERCOT, which serve to reduce high demand and protect the integrity of the electric grid. Due to the fast moving nature of these two power emergency events, we are not currently able to break down the difference in outages on our Oncor Outage Map.
Q: When will my power be restored?
Given the unique combination of lack of generation and historic winter storm damage, estimated restoration times are not yet known. For outages related to the winter storm, our crews continue working around the clock to restore power. However, continued winter impacts such as extreme cold, treacherous road conditions and ice buildup is impacting progress.
Controlled outages related to grid supply and demand have been significantly extended due to the current emergency grid conditions and severe cold weather. In order to preserve the reliability of the grid, ERCOT has said that additional generation will be needed before power can be restored.
These outages are taking place across the service territory and ERCOT has said they could be required through Tuesday. We are asking all Oncor customers to be prepared to be without power for an extended period of time.
Q: Why are some homes out for hours and others for minutes or not at all?
Again, there are two major issues affecting many of customers right now: winter storm outages and controlled power outages directed by ERCOT. We are using all designated power lines for controlled outages so that hospitals and other critical infrastructure remains intact and system stability is preserved. This means that customers near critical facilities, or those in limited areas where rolling outages won’t take place in order to maintain grid stability, may not experience outages, while those farther from these facilities or areas may be out multiple times or for longer instances.
Additionally, during instances of substantial generation drop, there are safeguards built into the system that drop power loads automatically in order to prevent cascading widespread outages, or ultimately a blackout. These are designed to be shorter term drops that are reset quicker than controlled outages to prepare for the next response opportunity.
Q: When will power generation plants come back on-line?
Due to the severe winter storm, we do not know and it is outside of our control. Conditions for power generation continue to be very serious and the combination of winter weather and reduced generation is unprecedented in the state of Texas. We are prepared for emergency operations to continue for at least several days.