Conroe - Montgomery Edition | February 2021

WEATHER Winter weather leaves residents without power, water

latter is under scrutiny for the failure of portions of the state’s grid. “I want everyone to know that all of us in the state of Texas believe it is completely unacceptable that you had to endure one minute of the challenge that you faced,” Gov. Greg Abbott said in a news conference Feb. 18. “All of us agree on the necessity of action, not just the action taken to restore your power, but the action to ensure that you never have to endure anything like this ever again.” In addition to calling for investiga- tions into ERCOT, Abbott said Feb. 18 he will add more emergency items for the Texas Legislature to consider, including the mandating and funding of winterization updates to the Texas power system. Abbott said he also submitted a request for a major disaster decla- ration from President Joe Biden. If granted, it will allow Texans whose property has been damaged due to burst water pipes to apply for individual assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency when not covered by private insurance, he said.

BY ANNA LOTZ, EVA VIGH & BEN THOMPSON

Widespread power outages prompted by severe winter weather conditions throughout Texas the week of Feb. 15 caused tens of thousands of Montgomery County residents to lose power. Entergy Texas—which serves much of Montgomery County—began periodic power outages as directed by its reliability coordinator, the Midcontinent Independent System Operator, a “last resort” to prevent more extensive, prolonged outages, according to a Feb. 15 release. At its peak, around 60,000 customers were without power, according to Entergy’s outage tracker, although many residents reported outages not disclosed on Entergy’s outage map. “While our crews worked to prepare for this storm, a loss of gen- eration combined with the peak load has caused a strain on the system. As a result, we are short of the power needed to meet our customers’

The San Jacinto River Authority Groundwater Reduction Plan Division supplied some Montgomery County entities with drinking water the week of Feb. 15. (Courtesy SJRA)

demands across southeast Texas,” Stuart Barrett, vice president of customer service, said in the release. In addition to burst pipes, a lack of safe drinking water spurred boil water notices by the city of Willis, among other water providers. As such, the San Jacinto River Authority Groundwater Reduction Plan Division, located in Conroe, helped supply Montgomery County with potable water. Entities using the water include regional hospitals, dialysis centers and the Houston Airport System, said Heather Ramsey

Cook, director of communications and public aairs for the SJRA. “We are one of the few systems not on a boil water notice, and we made the preparations ahead of the storm to stay online and functioning,” she said. “Trucks [were] in and out of our Lake Conroe water plant all day.” Statewide, 4.3 million Texans were without power the morning of Feb. 16, according to poweroutage. us. Although Entergy Texas is not part of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, or ERCOT—which manages 90% of the state’s electric power ow—the

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CONROE  MONTGOMERY EDITION • FEBRUARY 2021

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