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Nearly 2.6 million homes and businesses in Texas are still without power as cold temperatures persist

Winter Weather Texas Power Failures eletrical grid
Posted at 5:46 AM, Feb 17, 2021

Nearly 2.6 million homes and businesses in Texas are still without power Wednesday amid freezing temperatures, a full two days after winter storms overtaxed the state’s power grid.

According to 2.6 million customers in the state are still without power. The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), the state’s electricity regulation body, still has the state in a Level 3 Alert — the highest emergency level.

That emergency level involves rotating blackouts in the hopes of conserving energy as the grid struggles to produce enough power.

ERCOT has not provided a timetable as to when the blackouts could end. The current cold snap is expected to remain in effect for the next few days before breaking up over the weekend, meaning the electrical grid will continue to be overtaxed.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican, called for an investigation of ERCOT's handling of the current situation on Tuesday, calling the situation a "complete bungle."

Abbott said later on Wednesday that 1.2 million Texans had power restored on Wednesday after 6,000 megawatts of energy was brought on line.

Abbott added that officials were working to add an addition 5,000 megawatts of energy, which would return power to nearly 1 million additional customers.

As Abbott has decried the use of renewable energy sources, he said that Texas has lost nearly 17,200 megawatts of power generation from wind and solar sources, but more customers have lost power due to issues with natural gas.

The outages have led to several deaths throughout the state. On Tuesday, four people in Houston died in fire that had been sparked to keep people warm. Two others in the city died of carbon monoxide poisoning when a family ran a car in a garage in the hopes of keeping warm.

The Associated Press reports that at least 20 people have died in connection with a system of winter storms that blew across the country earlier this week.