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Newswest 9 | Midland, Texas | newswest9.com

Live updates on crisis in Texas: ERCOT returns to normal operations as emergency conditions end

Here's what's happening Friday as North Texans are still reeling from the impacts left behind by winter storms.

This story will be updated continuously on Feb. 19. 

Around 10:30 a.m. the Electric Reliability Council of Texas announced it has left the last stage of emergency conditions. This is the first time it has returned to normal operations since around 1 a.m. Monday. 

Earlier in the day, the agency said no additional outages were needed overnight and only a few generating units tripped. About 40% of supply was lost during the winter storm event this week, officials said. 

"Watching those heartbreaking conditions over several days was terrible. We had to make tough decisions when the storm came in. ERCOT didn't have a choice."

CEO Bill Magness said they will begin the process of analyzing the issue that occurred this week immediately and that a board meeting is planned. 

"Texas can’t afford for this to happen again," Magness said. 

Customers who remain without power are advised to contact their provider, ERCOT said. Those residents likely fall into one of these three categories:

  • Areas out due to ice storm damage on the distribution system.
  • Areas that were taken out of service due to the energy emergency load shed that need to be restored manually.
  • Large industrial facilities voluntarily went offline to help during this energy emergency.

But despite power being restored for millions, the state is still dealing with the aftermath of the winter storm. Some homes remain without electricity, at least 10 cities in North Texas are under a boil water order and buildings are damaged. 

In addition, most school districts and vaccine clinics remain closed Friday in an effort to conserve electricity. A handful of organizations are also hosting food and bottled water distribution the next few days to help those in need. 

Here's what's happening in North Texas:

7:40 p.m.: Oncor says as of 7:00 p.m., there are approximately 18,000 remaining outages from the cold weather and lack of generation impacts experienced earlier this week. Oncor expects all customers' power will be restored Friday. 

2:57 p.m.: Frisco ISD officials said schools will be closed Monday. Instead students will participate in virtual learning Monday and Tuesday. Officials said this will give them time to assess weather damage and resupply with water and food.

2:24 p.m: Denton ISD said the majority of schools will reopen for both in-person and remote learning Monday. Updates can be found on the district's website.

1:40 p.m.: Arlington ISD will keep all schools closed for Monday and Tuesday due to weather-related damage. District officials said ruptured pipes, disruption to water services, and power outages are among some of the reasons for the closures. Officials plan to resume instruction remotely Wednesday and will open some schools for in-person learning on Thursday. Parents can check updates here. 

12:18 p.m.: Fort Worth ISD said it will not have in-person or virtual learning Monday and Tuesday. During these days, officials said they will assess possible weather-related damage to all campuses. Teachers will use the days to work remotely to prepare for instruction, according to a news release.

12:16 p.m.: Water officials announce that the boil water notice for North Fort Worth is no longer needed. The notice is still in effect for the west parts of Fort Worth. 

11 a.m.: President Joe Biden said he plans to sign a disaster declaration for the state of Texas as soon as Friday afternoon and wants to visit Texas.  

10:36 a.m.: ERCOT reports that operations have returned to normal. This is the first time since around 1 a.m. Monday. 

8:14 a.m.: The City of Plano is giving out bottled water from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday at Grace Church Plano for anyone whose water has been shut off due to broken pipes. Officials said up to 12 bottles of water per household are available. Grace Church Plano is located at 3301 Preston Road. 

7:48 a.m.: VNA Meals on Wheels has canceled delivery for Friday due to the power outages and road conditions. The group said it will deliver hot, frozen, and cold bag meals Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday of next week. VNA needs volunteers to call and check on clients Friday. Click here to sign up or to help with food deliveries next week.

7:35 a.m.: ERCOT said there were no additional power outages overnight and that energy consumption has been much higher Friday morning compared to Thursday. According to the agency, there is sufficient enough power to serve the load over the morning peak. ERCOT said the grid operator expects to come out of emergency conditions later Friday.

6 a.m.: According to Oncor, as of 6 a.m. Friday, there are about 27,000 remaining customers experiencing outages. Oncor said it expects that a substantial amount of those remaining customers will be restored by Friday evening.

5:50 a.m.: Denton ISD said staff and crews continue to assess the district's 43 buildings and campuses for damages. So far, nine campuses have sustained damage due to sub-freezing indoor temperatures and water damage and reopening will be delayed. Check the status of schools here.

5:30 a.m.: JPS Health Network said patients who have missed or canceled appointments due to weather are being contacted to be rescheduled. Officials said many vaccine appointments will move to the main campus. People are asked to pay close attention to the time and location of their rescheduled appointment.

5:30 a.m.: The Arlington Fire Department will resume COVID-19 vaccination operations on Sunday. AFD will provide second doses on Sunday and Monday to about 5,000 people who received the first dose from AFD on Jan. 21 and 22. The hours of operation will be from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Gov. Abbott to provide winter weather response update

Gov. Greg Abbott is planning to provide an update Friday afternoon on the state's response to winter weather.

He is going to speak at the Alternate State Operations Center in Austin at 3:00 p.m.

In an update Thursday, Abbott said more than 2 million households across Texas have had their power restored in the past day.

Abbott also said he is requesting a major disaster declaration from the federal government, which would enable FEMA assistance for costs not covered by insurance.   

Fort Worth breweries filling water containers

Fort Worth brewing company Panther Island Brewing says it will be filling water containers Friday.

They will be doing it for free, asking people to bring their own containers.

The company can be found Friday at the following locations:

  • COWTOWN Brewery, 1301 E Belknap St.
  • Panther Island Brewing, 501 Main St.
  • Wild Acre Brewery, 1734 E El Paso St.
  • Hop Fusion Ale Works, 200 E Broadway Ave.

Key links:

Remember to download the WFAA app for the latest need-to-know weather and power updates. You can also check one of our dozens of local radars near you, the latest forecast, weather cameras, and current conditions.