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Grid operators say forced outages no longer necessary and tell customers to continue to conserve energy

Live updates: Grid operators say forced outages no longer necessary and tell customers to continue to conserve energy” was first published by The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan media organization that informs Texans — and engages with them — about public policy, politics, government and statewide issues.

Here’s what you need to know:

ERCOT says forced outages no longer necessary

The state’s electric system now has enough generation to return to normal operating conditions, and no additional power outages were needed overnight to balance supply and demand, according to officials with the entity that operates the grid.

“There is enough generation on the electric system to allow us to begin to return to more normal operating conditions,” said Dan Woodfin, senior director of system operations for Electric Reliability Council of Texas. ERCOT officials also said it’s still necessary for people to conserve energy.

Those who are still without power are those in areas where the distribution system was damaged by the ice storm, areas where power needs to be restored manually and large industrial facilities who voluntarily went offline to conserve energy.

President Joe Biden says he’ll visit Texas, sign major disaster declaration

President Joe Biden said Friday he’ll sign a major disaster declaration order for Texas and visit the state soon in the aftermath of the massive winter storm that caused water disruptions and power outages to millions.

Biden told reporters that he’d speak with the Federal Emergency Management Agency in the afternoon and “sign that declaration once it’s in front of me.” When asked whether he’d be visiting Texas, he said yes.

“The question is I had planned on visiting Texas in the middle of next week but I don’t want to be a burden,” he said. “When the president lands in a city in America, it has a long tail.”

Biden said he would come to the state when it’s clear he won’t be a burden to the people on the ground.

In a letter addressed to President Biden Thursday, eight Democrats acknowledged that extreme winter temperatures will subside soon, but they “look to FEMA to help us recover from this disaster in the weeks and months ahead” without the standard full-field damage assessment that FEMA carries out after natural disasters.

Texans of color, college students and hospital workers were left to struggle through winter storm

Texans of color earning low incomes bore some of the heaviest weight of this week’s power outages as the inequities drawn into the state’s urban centers were exacerbated in crisis. Some residents escaped to nearby hotels, but those who could never afford that option watched the food in their refrigerators — and the precious dollars spent on it — spoil in front of them.

“When you didn’t invest in the whole community equally, then you’re going to see the disparity when we get into situations like this,” said Jill Ramirez, the CEO of the Latino HealthCare Forum.

Meanwhile, Texas universities have tried to provide students with food and shelter and open warming centers in campus buildings. But many are battling dwindling food supplies, staffing shortages, and lack of water and power outages.

Patient logjams, overflowing emergency rooms and exhausted workers created challenging conditions for Texas health care workers in the wake of this week’s debilitating winter storm.

Power and water outages have also hit many Texas prisons and jails. Inmates suffered from unheated cells and correction officers were kept at the units for days without going home. — Texas Tribune staff

Hundreds of thousands still without electricity, even as power grid stabilizes

Hundreds of thousands of Texas electricity customers were still without power Thursday, even though the state was generating enough energy that it didn’t have to force electricity providers to cut power at people’s homes. In addition, millions of people across the state have had their water service disrupted because of the massive winter storm.

Texas’ power grid was “seconds and minutes” away from a catastrophic failure that could have left Texans in the dark for months, according to officials with the entity that operates the grid.

The remaining power outages were due to more local problems in the electrical system, which local companies were scrambling to repair. Gov. Greg Abbott said in a press conference Thursday that every available repair truck had been dispatched in the state to address the lingering electricity issues.

“What happened is absolutely unacceptable and can never be replicated again,” Abbott said.

While millions of Texans were left in the dark for days, people in El Paso, the upper Panhandle and parts of East Texas kept their lights on — thanks to power drawn from other parts of the country.

This article was originally published on Grid operators say forced outages no longer necessary and tell customers to continue to conserve energy

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