Why Are Summer Storms Causing Texas Blackouts

by | Jun 17, 2024 | Industry News, Living in Texas

Can We Prevent Summer Texas Blackouts?

Texas blackouts are caused mainly by severe weather. Learn what utilities are doing to harden the grid to withstand harsh conditions.
Blackouts from severe storms in Texas seem to be growing in frequency. Learn what’s being done to the grid to safeguard your home’s power.

Since mid-May, Texas has seen several rounds of extreme weather causing wide-spread power outages. Big, mean tornados are not new to Texas. And flooding isn’t new either. All the same, they seem to be happening more regularly. As a result, Texas blackouts occur more often. Texas electricity reliability is a constant struggle. So, shoring up the grid remains a top priority for lawmakers, state agencies, power makers, and utilities. As they work together, they can reduce future Texas blackouts. 

Will Oncor’s $3.4B Texas Plan Reduce Blackouts?

Utility company Oncor filed a plan with the Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUCT) to enhance grid resiliency. While Oncor is just one of five utility companies in the ERCOT market, it serves a rapidly growing service area. And its plan could lead the way for the other utilities to make big improvements. 

Well, what’s in their system resiliency plan? The service area’s population growth spurred a massive increase in revenue. Therefore, Oncor needs to spend more money on infrastructure. Of the $3.4B, the company slates $2.9B for capital costs and $520M for reinforcing and modernizing its grid. These costs directly improve the grid. For example, the plan includes $285M to expand vegetation management. This means cutting back tree limbs from power lines to reduce how often limbs bring down power lines during storms. 

If the PUCT approves the plan, Oncor will begin spending in 2025 for a three-year period. Perhaps by next summer, Oncor will finish some of the projects. 

National Grid Connection

Texas has a reputation for going it alone, and the ERCOT market does exactly that. ERCOT covers most of Texas without linking to any other regional grids. These regional grids comprise a national grid. Members of Congress have filed bills to link ERCOT to the national grid, and other members have filed bills to prevent it. 

Bolstering the case for linkage, a new study asserts 80% of Texas blackouts since 2021 could have been prevented if Texas had been linked to the national grid. Sound data doesn’t always lead to public policy changes. Hence, we’ll all have to wait and see what happens in Congress. 

Your Personal Power Situation

There isn’t much you can do on your own to prevent Texas blackouts due to tree falls or storm driven wind. If you have power lines on your property, be sure to keep tree branches clear of them. But if you want to avoid high bills, the best thing you can do for your own power plight is to shop for the right electric plan. Therefore, shop for plans at http://www.texaselectricityratings.com/electric-rates to match your usage to a plan that saves you money. 

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