a dismal number

Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo warns of 'several days' without power even after temps warm

Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo warns of 'several days' without power

freeze houston ice water drip
The deep freeze has wreaked havoc on locals. CenterPoint Energy/Facebook

Houstonians without power who are wondering how many of their friends and neighbors are in the same boat now have an idea. Some 1.39 million are without electricity, CenterPoint Energy announced on February 17.

The service provider noted on Twitter that residents should check its outage tracker and that power will be available once the much-maligned Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) makes it available.

ERCOT’s current capacity is 45,000 megawatts of electricity, compared to the current demand of 43,800 megawatts. By early February 17, the forecast is expected to be up to 60,000 megawatts, yet the capacity won’t even get above 55,000 megawatts by 4 pm, according to ABC13’s Keaton Fox.

Meanwhile, Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo prepped locals to limit their expectations. On a February 17 appearance on CNN, she said:

Over the past couple of days, we've heard from ERCOT that they are bringing generators back up, but on the ground, fewer and fewer people have had power. So what I've said is give it to us straight. And I'm telling my community do not expect the power to come back even after the weather passes. So, you know, right now we're trying to survive the impacts of the power and getting ready for several days maybe — we don't know how long — without power. And just hoping that the grid sustains itself.

Statewide, more than 2.8 million residents are without power, according to poweroutage.us. CenterPoint, locally, has reported that it could take until the weekend for many to see power restored. Adding to the challenges locallt are freezing rains expected on February 17, which means ice patches on roads, and an even greater burden on the power grid and residential pipes.

For his part, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott points his finger squarely at ERCOT for this disaster, calling for the resignation of its leaders.

“This was a total failure by ERCOT,” he told CultureMap new partner ABC13. “ERCOT stands for Electric Reliability Council of Texas ... and they showed that they were not reliable. These are specialists, and government has to rely upon these specialists to be able to deliver in these types of situations.”

Learn More