Governor Greg Abbott provided an update on Texas’ response to winter weather that is currently impacting the state. During the press conference, the Governor reported that 27 state agencies are responding to the impact of the storm to ensure Texans have the support and resources they need to stay safe. Importantly, the Governor noted that the Texas power grid is fully functioning and continues to be reliable.
“The State of Texas has deployed a plethora of resources to ensure our communities have the support they need to respond to this storm,” said Governor Abbott. “Texas is experiencing one of the most significant ice events in decades, but we have taken unprecedented steps to ensure that our power grid continues to function reliably despite treacherous weather conditions. As we continue to face freezing temperatures, precipitation, and other dangerous elements, I urge Texans to be prepared and heed the guidance of their local officials as we all work together to keep people safe.”
While precipitation, including freezing rain, snow, and sleet, will begin to dissipate over the next day, lingering impacts of the cold weather such as dangerous wind chill will continue to be felt throughout the state into the weekend. Travel continues to be discouraged due to icy conditions on roadways. The Texas Department of Transportation has transitioned from pre-treatment of roads into clearing and de-icing. Texans are encouraged to monitor road conditions at drivetexas.org. Stranded motorists can call 1-800-525-5555 for assistance from the Texas Department of Public Safety.
The Public Utility Commission of Texas and the Electric Reliability Council of Texas noted that the power grid is not experiencing any issues and it continues to be reliable thanks to successful winterization efforts and other proactive strategies taken by the state. The Governor noted that there is plenty of power available, and even at expected peak demand there should still be over 10,000 MWs of extra power capacity—enough extra power to supply about two million homes. The Railroad Commission of Texas has suspended all scheduled maintenance of natural gas resources out of an abundance of caution, and all pipelines are fully functioning.
The State of Texas has received reports of localized power outages due to the elements including ice and heavy winds. Power providers are currently working to address outages by providing additional resources. More than 10,000 linemen are already on the ground to assist with power issues and almost 2,000 more linemen are being deployed from outside of the state. Governor Abbott has issued a disaster declaration for 17 counties most affected by the icy conditions. This includes waiving regulations to ensure these additional linemen can more rapidly make repairs to power lines.
Texans are encouraged to call their local power provider to address local outages. Texans can also access power line safety reports and contact their power provider at puc.texas.gov/storm.
During the press conference, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality encouraged Texans to closely follow information from their water provider and be prepared to take action in the event of a water line break. If Texans experience a pipe burst on their property, they are urged to turn the water off on their street and report it to their water provider immediately. Texans can visit www.tceq.texas.gov for information on how to turn water off in the event of a line break.
The Texas Division of Emergency Management reported that mass care teams continue to support local communities. There are 185 warming centers open across the state, with 156 on standby. For more information, Texans can visit TDEM’s webpage dedicated to winter storm resources.