DALLAS-FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – With another night of frigid temperatures, city leaders across the Metroplex sent out out warnings.
“We have never had as serious of a situation with our power grid as we have right now,” said Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins.
“These blackouts are no longer rolling blackouts,” said Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price in a video on Facebook. “They are continued and sustained in many places and may be for some time to come.”
The dangerous cold leading is leading to higher call volumes at MedStar.
As of Monday night, 34 patients have been treated for hypothermia and 13 were taken to the hospital.
“What we’re seeing is a large number of hypothermia calls not because people are outside, but because they’re home but have no electricity and have no heat,” said Matt Zavadsky with MedStar.
Oncor said it is working to get the lights back on, especially with another round of winter weather on the way, but the demand on the system is taking a toll.
“It’s two separate power emergencies,” said Oncor spokesperson Kerri Dunn. “On one hand we have the winter storm we have those weather impacts, So for that we’ve been prepositioning our crews and our resources.”
Dunn said the other problem is supply and demand.
“Our focus for that, although very challenging for our customers and for our personnel that are working it, is ultimately to help preserve the integrity of the electric grid.”
Oncor has tried to move around the outages, but the grid is under such strain that they can’t.
For now, they are asking everyone who has power to try to keep their temperature at 68 degrees to lessen the load.
As for why some people have experienced long outages and others none, Oncor said that has to do with how the system is set up.
The rolling outages are designed so that hospitals and critical infrastructure won’t be affected.
So, if you’re on a power line that also supplies power to a hospital, you likely won’t see your lights go out.
Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson tweeted about his displeasure with the situation Monday night, saying, “I have been as frustrated as everyone else today. I know this has been extraordinarily difficult. These power outages are unacceptable, and ERCOT needs to answer for them.”
I have been as frustrated as everyone else today. I know this has been extraordinarily difficult. These power outages are unacceptable, and ERCOT needs to answer for them.
— Mayor Eric Johnson (@Johnson4Dallas) February 16, 2021
Meantime, across the Metroplex, emergency warming shelters have opened up.
In Dallas, at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center, 24-hour intake will be available through Wednesday at noon.
However, this is not an overnight shelter and cots will not be provided.
Those using the emergency shelter are asked to bring their own meals.
The city will provide water, coffee, light snacks, tables and chairs.
Wayne Switzer of Hurst, who lost power early Monday morning, said he was out knocking on doors and seeing if any of his neighbor need a ride to a nearby warming shelter where he plans to spend the night.
“I’m going to keep my battery charged, conserve my communication ability.. and see when the power comes on,” he said.
He said at this point when that will happen is anyone’s guess.
Erin Jones contributed to this report.