Texas, Mayor urner urges residents to check on neighbors during power outages

A lot it’s a huge demand, and then there are a number of generation plants that have been taken offline, like your wind turbines that are frozen over uh in various parts of the state. One of our nuclear plants had to be taken offline, so there’s a there’s. A huge demand, a very limited supply. It is a system wide of failure across across the state and, as you know, the system is controlled, managed by ercot. That is a state entity that controls our electric grid, and i know that some of them have already been speaking to it already. But let me just say people because i know i’ve seen some of the social tweets and others saying mayor. Please turn on the heat that is not within my purview, and so that is the as the electric grid that’s on the state level uh, and that is creating a great deal of power outages. Yesterday we talked in terms of rolling blackouts uh, but that was yesterday today. These are power, outages and based on the the center points numbers about 1.2 million center point. Customers in their service area are without power, that’s all of the city of houston and then the houston region. So it goes even beyond the city of houston that’s about 1.2 million. It is even possible, with the weather, getting colder as we move towards the evening that that number couldn’t even grow. I just want to be very upfront with with people in the city.

If you are without power right now, it is very conceivable that you could be without power throughout the rest of today and possibly even going into tomorrow, and so let me ask you to to do everything you can to be warm in a safe manner. I do not encourage people, for example, to try to leave their homes. The roadways and the streets are still very much treacherous. We have a number of warming centers throughout the city, but i will tell you even a couple of them are without or without power. There are approximately 500 people at the jar jar brown of that number 40 were processed taken in today at the jar, jar, brown and that’s pretty much at capacity. So let me encourage you not to get on the road to just kind of buckle down hunker down at your home. I am very much concerned uh with critical care patients, customers, people who need medical devices. They need oxygen, for example, they’re, relying on battery power to the extent you see yourself getting very low in terms of your battery power or you don’t have enough oxygen, please contact 311, 311 211. If you’ll reach out to us in some cases, you know we’ll even be trying to reach out to you, but these are the critical care customers who require medical devices or oxygen things of that nature. If you see that what you have is running out of power or you need additional medical devices or oxygen, please please reach out to us on three on three one.

One i’m also concerned with our seniors, and so i would ask our people, relatives neighbors friends, to check on our seniors. Many of them rely pretty much exclusively, for example, on television and without power. They may not be getting these reports, so please uh pick up the phone and give and give them a call and check and check on our check on our seniors, but the roads bare mind the roads are hazardous. Let me say with regards to the airports: the airports at this point are not flying in or out, and so before you even proceed to go to the airports. Please check check with your airlines, but for right now, based on our reports, uh they’re, not flying in or out at this at this time. So the next uh let’s, say 24 to 36 hours are going to be very, very important, uh and i’m simply going to ask us to just to kind of hunker down. I know it. I know it’s cold for people who have lost power in the city. I certainly understand that, and i know that people affiliated with the electric uh industry utility industry working very, very hard enercott to increase that capacity, but until then let’s just um. You know as be patient as much as you can now. Let me call on chief bunning for his comments and then we’ll go to chief oscillator great. Thank you mayor for your leadership and guidance. During this extreme cold weather, the office emergency management has been coordinating with all the city departments and also our state, our local and our county partners, along with our private sector partners mayor.

This is a team effort, everybody’s coming together, working together to keep the city safe and make sure that we have a adequate response. The georgia brown convention center, as the mayor said, is, is almost that capacity. We are looking at other shelters. We do have the ability, some of the shelters, have lost power, we’re moving folks from from one place to another, but we’re we’re all doing the best we can and working as hard as we can. Thank you mayor. Thank you. I also want to make note. In addition to our shelters, i do want to thank, for example, lakewood church for opening up their doors, and i think they still do have some some capacity there as as well uh chief acevedo. Thank you mayor thanks for leadership and uh for hosting this uh. As a little as a few minutes ago, we’ve had only one priority: one which is our highest priority call pending and about 87 lower priority calls that are pending for dispatch. We had seven minor traffic collisions pen holding, including in those calls and uh. Quite a few roadway closures: pierce elevated at 45, 290 hollister 610 scott uh westbound uh katy freeway at 45, inbound 610, 28 southbound east texas, free wet 59 northbound we’ve had six stations that were impacted by the power outages i’m. Happy to report that the backup generators have restored power mayor. We are fully deployed throughout the city. We are on a full tactical alert and award to the wise that we have not just patrol assets out looking and keeping an eye on our infrastructure and our business.

Our businesses, we also have officers and plane wraps playing cars out across the city, it’s very important people not call 911 and again the roadways will continue to be icy mayor and with no no no end in sight to these icy conditions until at least tomorrow. So we encourage people to stay off the highways, especially as soon as the sun comes down. We know that it’s going to get from bad to worse in terms of the roadway conditions that’s. My report, thank you, chief chief pena, thank you mayor good afternoon, everyone. So the houston fire department remains fully staffed. At this moment. Our firefighters are are doing an extraordinary job out here in these. In these conditions, we uh we have seen an increase in call volume. Our call volume is up over 50 percent from what is normal, we’re uh over 800 calls for service. At this point, mainly ems calls. This brings me to uh to my point on these rolling uh blackouts or power outages again. You know if you’re going to resort to some portable heating device, please ensure that that you do not use any any gasoline powered generators close to your home. Do not use propane heaters inside your home, charcoal heaters, those produce dangerous and lethal carbon monoxide. We want to ensure that you’re doing the right thing if you’re using your car to heat up, ensure that that car is not inside your home inside your garage and turned on that is going to produce carbon monoxide it’s going to fill up your home and you’re You’Re asking for trouble at that point, so please be mindful of what you’re doing to uh to ensure that you stay warm.

We recommend that you bundle up recommend, as the mayor mentioned, that you check on your neighbors and the elderly they’re more susceptible to the cold. Please keep in touch with with these people and ensure that that they’re doing the right thing to try to keep warm during these times. In regards to the water usage, we want to again ask our community to be mindful of what they’re using you. Don’T have to be doing laundry or any at those items at this point to conserve the the water and the water pressure that that would be necessary in case of a major emergency. Um stay off the roads stay off the roads. The roads are going to get even more dangerous. Now the sun is out in in for some time, it’s melting, some of the snow that is going to freeze over and you’re, going to get ice on these roads they’re going to be even more dangerous than they were last night. So please be mindful of that. Do not expose yourselves or first responders or public uh workers out uh to try to to respond to your emergencies for these unnecessary travel people on medical devices, as the mayor mentioned, he uh he mentioned earlier. Those people that are medical devices – oxygen, dialysis, any ventilators, please ensure that you have a plan in case there is a power outage at your home. Take the necessary actions right now to ensure that your battery is fully operated.

Contact your service, your provider, for for the medical device to to ensure that you have a backup, uh source and have a plan ready in case uh. In case those power, outages are prolonged and you have to fall on battery power, ensure that your batteries are charged at this moment, it’s it’s critically important. We can’t estimate how long the power is going to be out when it does go out, but we want to make sure that you have a plan and you’re doing the things necessary to ensure that you that you’re, that you’re protected that’s. My report mayor, thank you and, to sum up before we take any questions, if you have, i mean my number one concern right now are the power outages, and that is not something that we here at the city control that is not within our control, but it Is impacting a lot of people throughout the state of texas, but specifically in the houston region, that’s my number that’s, my number one concern. I want to echo what chief penguin had to say, because i know people are looking for different ways to warm up and, if you’re getting in your car, your truck, please do not warm up inside that garage with that garage door down. Please do not do that. That is dangerous. Please do not do that um, so um get. You know, get you a few more blankets things of that nature uh. It will pass uh, but i that’s my that’s my number one concern and specifically, as it relates to critical care customers, people who are needing devices needing oxygen and our seniors.

Those are the two areas so for those individuals, those critical care, individuals, people with special needs. If you see that you are needing something that, with regards to your device or oxygen, please reach out to us through 311 or two one, one uh, and we we will respond for everybody else. Let me just ask you to to hunker down uh as we as we work to get through it tonight is going to be a cold frigid night. Okay, the temperatures will be freezing, so do not allow the sun to fool you and then think that tonight you can get out on the road. Do not do that tonight will be more treacherous than last night in the morning will be colder than this morning. So please don’t be fooled by the sun. When the sun goes down, conditions will be treacherous and again you know we’re asking you to stay off the roads. Please do that it will help yourself and it will help the first responders as well. Having said that, i do want to thank the forge for family center. That was one of our shelters warming center, but because it is now without power we are having to uh, redirect uh people there uh to another location. So, as you can see, even if you went to uh some of these warming station shelters uh, some of them are without power as well. So the best thing is for you to remain in your homes and then let’s work to uh to get past uh.

This uh, these power, outages, um we’ll, take any questions that anyone may have. You know if they’re still treating the roads with salt or ground or anything yeah, and they are still treating the roads that will that will continue throughout this. Throughout this crisis, the uh, the overpasses and all of those areas, those well let me just say, every street – every road, okay, it’s, not just the overpasses, when you’re dealing with this situation and frigid weather and the precipitation that will freeze over every street, every road can Be a a very dangerous one, but yes, the answer is yes text out as well as public works. Just for clarification, the loss of power that we’re seeing now is. These are not yeah. These are not rolling blackouts. Yesterday, what we were assuming what cenapoint and others were saying is that there will be rolling blackouts from 15 minutes to one hour um and to kind of ease the load to stay within the capacity of the of the system uh. But things changed quite a bit in the early part of the morning this morning and it became a situation that it was the the the role in blackouts became so frequent uh that they just turned into power outages. So what you’re experiencing what you’re saying today? This is a situation that the the the generating companies – okay, uh facilities – um, either frozen over. Like you win turbines, okay, uh. Many of them, for example, are in lubbock in west texas, frozen over and uh your nuclear power plants.

Okay had to be taken offline. So when the generation went down, it was not sufficient power to flow to your transmission and distribution. Uh companies like center point, like txu, for example, and that reduced the power supply, and once that happened, they had to start shutting things down to keep everything from coming down. The reality is that if everything stops and there’s a total blackout, it would be several more days if not a week to restore power. So these are power outages to try to balance the load and to keep the system from being overloaded. Now we can have a conversation when this is all over, while we even at this point, but that the system is managed by ercot. That is the state system that manages your generation, your transmission and distribution, as well as your retail. Okay, your electric power grid and that’s on the state level, and i think, when this is over, we’ll, need to have a conversation, a serious conversation as to why we are where we are today, but where we are today is getting people through this crisis. The situation, especially the 1.2 million customers in this area that are operating without power, and especially those seniors and critical care customers, but these are not rolling blackouts. These are power outages at a huge, unprecedented scale: okay, all right and now and lastly, but if you do have power, let me say what you can do for those who do have power.

You certainly can lower that thermostat down to 68, or sometimes even a little bit below in order to conserve the power okay uh on a day like today, you can open up the blinds in the shadows and take advantage of the sun light sun rays that are Coming coming in, don’t use the heavy appliances, so conservative, if you do have power conserve as much power as you can to to keep from others from losing power and then to help speed up the point with those who are without power, power can be restored. So we all have, we all have a. We all have a road, a role to play: okay, um! I i really wanted. I wanted to make that point. Let me thank everybody for cooperating on yesterday staying off the roads. Let me thank you for staying um, just following all of the advice that we have provided to you and we will we will get through this. This is uh an unprecedented time uh, but you know you’ve heard you’ve heard me say that before and uh this too shall pass and then we’ll we’ll be on the other side of this uh. Hopefully in the next let’s, say: 30 36 hours.

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