February Freeze: Oncor Works to Keep Power on

The state's power supply is operating at dangerously low levels increasing the threat of blackouts through the night.

Although the power is on, the drastic temperatures could force energy providers to start blackouts again Wednesday night or Thursday.

"Today is just an emergency day, due to the cold weather, we're working to keep the lights on," says Mike Nieto, the West Region Manager for Oncor.

As of Wednesday, 88 employees are working on the power lines and on the streets to keep your power on.

"We try to keep the lights on as best as we can," said Nieto, "This is an emergency---a state-wide emergency--not just a Wichita Falls, Graham, Burkburnett. It's across the state and these cold temperatures are really taxing the system."

Since most people stay home and indoors, the amount of power used is greater than the amount of power generated, depleting our supply.

"Our reserve levels are down," admitted Nieto.

To ensure that the state of Texas does not run out of power, rolling blackouts ranging from 10 to 45 minutes were instituted for most of Wednesday. Although power is now back on for everyone, officials warn the heat may be turned off, at least momentarily.

"There is no, in this type of weather, no guarantee that service won't be interrupted," said Nieto. "We encourage you, if you can do anything at your residence or commercial business to reduce the energy consumption to please do so to help us."

However some of the black outs affected those with electrical medical supplies, such as oxygen. While the outage didn't last long, those people were still very affected.

"We are aware of those customers, we try to get those back on as soon as we can," explained Nieto. "In the event of a state emergency like this, then they need to have a back-up plan. Either have a battery pack for emergency power or be able to go somewhere there is electricity."

Nieto suggests hospitals and other areas that have generators as good, safe places to go for medical needs.

Tips you and your family can use to conserve the most power.

If you do experience a power outage, Oncor urges customers to call this hotline 1-888-313-4747

Mary Moloney, Newschannel 6