Feb 4, 2022 - News

Abbott says Texas power grid is "performing very well"

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

State officials tried to quell concerns over the electric grid's ability to power homes through what Gov. Greg Abbott described as a "significant icing event."

Why it matters: The cold has prompted concerns about the stability of the electrical grid, which failed in deadly and costly fashion during a more significant Arctic outbreak last year.

Details: As many as 70,000 customers statewide had lost power as of midday Thursday, which emergency officials attribute to local outages from fallen trees and downed power lines.

  • Abbot said that 10,000 workers have been deployed to fix downed power lines.
  • Another 2,000 others are coming from out of state.

The big picture: Abbott declared a disaster in 17 Texas counties, including Dallas and Denton, but also said the power grid "is performing very well at this time" in a Thursday news conference.

  • The state has several days worth of natural gas in storage to meet energy demands, he added.
  • And the governor touted the grid's power supply, saying it had 10,000 megawatts of power above the projected peak demand, enough to keep the lights on in 2 million homes.
  • Abbott called the latest freeze the most significant in decades, although National Weather Service meteorologists say it's a typical winter weather event for the area.

Yes, but: This week's freeze will test whether limited changes made by state lawmakers and officials have improved the grid's stability.

Zoom in: “Mostly positive news so far, but don't start celebrating yet. Be prepared to settle in for a couple days. Warmer temperatures should begin Saturday and Sunday, melting the ice and yielding safer conditions for everyone.” Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson tweeted Thursday.

  • The NWS has issued a Wind Chill Advisory for North Texas lasting through at least 9am Friday. Expect it to feel somewhere between 5 degrees and -5 degrees outside.

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