Population Increase Not Causing Power Outages in the Basin

Population Increase Not Causing Power Outages in the Basin
(Source: KWES)

by Justin Kree

NewsWest 9

MIDLAND-  NewsWest 9 decided to dig a little deeper into the cause of recent power outages after many NewsWest 9 viewers were frustrated with the issue. NewsWest 9 spoke with Sue Mercer and Gus Ortega with ONCOR about why people are being left in the dark.

"It's uncommon that there is no one out at all somewhere throughout the system. ONCOR can't predict where our outages are, we try to. We work on that on an ongoing basis. When we have multiple outages in a particular location or a certain part of town we look at those and we try to evaluate and analyze the information to try to determine is there a problem in that particular area. Maybe there are overgrown trees that are causing faults, maybe we need to go in and do some tree trimming," Mercer said.

Gus Ortega tells NewsWest 9 that there are many reasons why customers experience outages, human error, mother nature and even wildlife play a factor.

"Snakes crawl up the pole, maybe because there are birds or squirrels. If a fuse goes out, it depends how many people are on that line it maybe 20 or just 1 or multiple customers.

Yes a snake could be the cause of your power outage. But should customers ever worry about the system becoming overloaded and the whole power grid shutting down?

"We have a special group called System Planning. We actually do predictions on an ongoing basis. Then we adjust as the growth happens and continue to predict," Mercer said.

Mercer explained that a city-wide system failure won't happen based on equipment failure. She also explains that population does cause more usage and increases the electricity load but ONCOR is already planning ahead for the increase in population.

"We're either going to be building new lines, new sub-stations or even reworking lines. People are going to see us in their neighborhoods and working more than they have," Mercer said.