Tomball - Magnolia Edition | March 2021

LIGHTS OUT

The Tomball and Magnolia area marks the meeting of two grids: the independent Texas grid and the Eastern Interconnection. However, both systems saw outages during the week of Feb. 15 that plunged residents into darkness for up to ve days.

everything we could possibly do to protect them,” Tanner said. “Part of our mission statement is to protect and prevent the suering of captive parrots. And when this storm came and there was no electricity and no water, we didn’t protect them.” Although a portion of the Mag- nolia area is serviced by a

to and during the storm, including the addition of wind breaks, heaters and insulation, said Allison Payne, senior communications specialist of Entergy Texas. Still, the company will be conducting a post-event review of the steps it took and what could have been done better. “[We will be] investing in improv- ing our system not just for reliability but [also] further investment in grid resiliency,” Payne said. Despite this preparation, nearly 60,000 Montgomery County cus- tomers of Entergy Texas were out of power Feb. 15, according to Entergy’s outage map. Comparatively, across the CenterPoint service area, 1.42 million customers were in the dark by 8 p.m. Feb. 15, according to data from the transmission provider. Billy Marricle, president and gen- eral manager of San Bernard, which provides energy to a portion of Mont- gomery County southeast to Lavaca County, said his members saw rolling outages of about an hour at a time. “I think we were prepared. We go through an [Energy Emergency Alert] simulation once a quarter,” Marricle said. “We had already picked out the locations that we would not shed any [circuits].” Ocials statewide are calling for a reform and investigation into ERCOT and the Public Utility Commission of Texas, the state agency that regulates electric, water and telecommunica- tion utilities. Yet there is no apparent investigation underway into MISO, Entergy or San Bernard from state or local elected ocials. “There’s no excuses for [the fail- ures],” Montgomery County Judge Mark Keough said of Entergy. “[But] they worked as hard as they could in the time that they had.” Stormaftermath In the immediate aftermath of the

2

3

1

MAGNOLIA

separate grid, the isolated energy grid that services most of the state was cited by critics as a contributor to the dev- astating outages that have since led to a

1488

2978

1774

HARDIN STORE RD.

HUFSMITH RD.

political reckoning. Maintaining the grid The Tomball and

WESTERN INTERCONNECTION Includes El Paso and far West Texas ERCOT INTERCONNECTION Includes most of Texas, including the Tomball area EASTERN INTERCONNECTION Includes portions of East Texas and the panhandle region 1 2 3

2920

Magnolia area is ser- viced by three electric- ity providers: CenterPoint Energy, the San Bernard Elec- tric Cooperative and Entergy Texas. CenterPoint and San Bernard are in the state’s grid and coordinated by the Energy Reliability Council of Texas. Entergy Texas, which serves most of Montgomery County, is part of the Eastern Interconnection, and its reliability coordinator is the Midcontinent Independent System Operator, which delivers power to 15 U.S. states. On Feb. 14, every county in Texas was under a winter storm warning, according to the National Weather Service. ERCOT alerted generators and distribution partners that the storm would bring “record-breaking demand” to the system, but some lawmakers pointed out the decisions that set up the grid for potential fail- ure were made years in advance, such as failing to protect facilities from harsh cold conditions. Entergy winterized its power plants and transmission grid prior

99

TOMBALL

Providers in the Tomball and Magnolia area are operated by the Energy Reliability Council of Texas and the Midcontinent Independent System Operator.

ERCOT • 1.42million CenterPoint customers without power by 8 p.m. Feb. 15 • ERCOT board members resigned; CEO red • Under investigation by Texas Legislature

• Nearly 60,000 Entergy customers in Montgomery County without power Feb. 15 • No apparent investigation into MISO • Lawsuit against Entergy has been led by Conroe resident MISO

SOURCES: ENERGY RELIABILITY COUNCIL OF TEXAS, ENTERGY TEXASCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

Despite moving some birds inside, setting up heat lamps, and blanketing the aviaries, Tanner said the sanctu- ary lost two birds—in addition to deal- ing with a lack of water and busted pipes. The center is now raising funds to build a larger building, obtain gen- erators and install an on-site well to be self-sucient. “We really thought that we did

CONTINUED FROM 1

tell you, as far as all of them com- bined, nothing’s been as bad as this.” Among the residents and busi- nesses aected by the storm’s turbu- lence was the Magnolia Exotic Bird Sanctuary, which provides refuge for 150 exotic birds, Communications Director Candace Tanner said.

24

COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

Powered by