'Plenty of power' available to get through winter storm, Abbott says

The return of subfreezing weather brought heightened anxiety to Texans nearly a year after February 2021's catastrophic freeze that buckled the state's power grid for days, leading to hundreds of deaths in one of the worst blackouts in U.S. history.

In the Houston area, while no widespread outages were reported, the concern was still the grid.

Speaking at another briefing Friday morning, Gov. Greg Abbott, who was joined by other state leaders, said that he didn't expect demand to exceed the supply on the grid for the rest of the storm.

At the height of power generation supply, Abbott said more than 86,000 megawatts were available to serve demand on the grid.

Electric Reliability Council of Texas, or ERCOT, predicted record demand for energy to peak at 8 a.m. Friday and said at a briefing the day before that it was prepped to meet demand as high as 81,000 megawatts with no rolling blackouts.

In the update Friday, Abbott said the peak usage was at 77,000 megawatts and that there was about 15% more power generation capacity available since last year due to winterization efforts.

Abbott maintained that there should be plenty of supply to last for the duration of the storm through the weekend, adding that there was 17,000 megawatts of extra power capacity.

Specifically, the governor said that the additional capacity would supply more than 3 million homes across the state.

But despite the abundant supply, about 15,000 customers were still without power across the state, according to poweroutage.us.

Like he did at a press conference the day before, Abbott cited issues at the local provider level that occurred due to high winds and ice on power lines as the reasons for those outages and not grid failures.

If you need to report an outage, go to puc.texas.gov/storm/.

Meanwhile, treacherous icy conditions on roads and protecting pipes are still a concern.

State officials reported that there have been over 460 crashes, 49 serious injuries and three deaths.

They're urging people to avoid driving, if possible, and to remember to slow down and move over, especially if you see first responders.

You can check conditions on drivetexas.org.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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