Tree down at White Rock Lake: Photo by Danny Fulgencio

Tree topples due to winds and rain: Photo by Danny Fulgencio

Last December after a major ice storm, we reported on Oncor and its power restoration practices. We today find ourselves in the midst of one of Dallas’ worst-ever electricity outages. As of Friday afternoon, more than 151,000 households in our neck of the woods are still without power, so  I figured I would repost our findings:

So, during a region-wide power-killing storm (with which we in Dallas are all too familiar) why are some people and places up and running inside an hour while others spend days in darkness? Essentially, representatives say, there is power in numbers. Literally. Oncor prioritizes its restorations by those with the biggest need, says spokeswoman Jeamy Molina.

“During all restorations of any kind, we make sure we can address the emergency facilities first — police, hospitals and other care centers. That’s our first priority.”

The next priority is set by density, and Oncor continues its work from there.

“We look at the maximum number of people we can restore at one time,” Molina says. [Within about 72 hours] all storm-related power outages [had] been restored. Molina could not provide specific information about which Dallas neighborhoods received the brunt of the blackout as Oncor officials are still compiling the data. 13.12.06 Dallas Ice Storm DFulgencio 0042 LO During widespread power outages, how does Oncor determine priority?

The  only severe weather event comparable to last weekend in recent years is the ice storm that hit during the 2011 Super Bowl, which closed the area’s schools for a full week.

Our August issue — published to coincide with our equally brutal summer months — featured an in-depth look at the electricity grid and other power-related pieces. With our heaters running full blast, it’s worth revisiting everything you ever wanted to know about the energy grid. Emily Toman contributed to this report.

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