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Winter Storm 2021

Texas’ power grid is stabilizing, but more than 300,000 remain without electricity

Many people in the state still do not have power, and millions have had their water service disrupted.

Jacob Duran warms his hands over a grill after his apartment lost power due to the severe winter storm that hit the state. F…

Texas is now generating enough energy so that it doesn't have to force electricity providers to cut power at people's homes, but around 325,000 customers were still enduring outages Thursday afternoon, Gov. Greg Abbott said.

The remaining outages were due to more local problems in the electrical system, which local companies were scrambling to repair. Abbott said in a press conference Thursday that every available repair truck had been dispatched in the state to address the lingering issues.

In addition, millions of people across the state have had their water service disrupted because of the massive winter storm.

"We will not stop until normalcy is restored to your lives," Abbott said. "Until that moment comes, I ask all Texans to continue your efforts to take the precautions that are needed to stay safe and warm."

Earlier Thursday, Electric Reliability Council of Texas CEO Bill Magness said the state isn't "out of the woods yet" — but that he thinks "we're in a glide path."

"We're still in very cold conditions, so we're still seeing much higher than normal winter demand," he told reporters. "If we do hit a bump and have some generation have to come back off, we may have to ask for outages but if we do, we believe they'll be at the level where they could be rotating outages."

Temperatures are expected to rise well above freezing across much of the state on Friday, which could further help the electricity situation.

It's unclear how many people currently are lacking power in the state, though the number has declined significantly in the past 24 hours. ERCOT officials said those without electricity still are likely to have been affected by ice storm damage on power distribution systems or are on systems that need to be manually restarted by crews after they were forced to shut down. Some large industrial facilities that voluntarily went offline are also still without power.

The improved situation is evident by the number of outages some of the biggest local power providers were reporting Thursday afternoon: 11% of Austin Energy customers are facing outages, compared to the 40% on Monday, and CPS Energy, which serves customers in the San Antonio area, reported that less than 1% of its customers were facing outages.

Oncor Electric Delivery, Texas’ largest utility, provides power for almost 4 million customers across Texas. It indicated outages were still affecting more than 150,000 people in its system. The progress comes after many Texans went days without power as temperatures were well below freezing.

As power returns for many, a new challenge has taken its place, however: As of Thursday morning, more than 13 million Texans were faced with water disruptions.

Cities across the state have required residents to start boiling water before using it for drinking, bathing or cleaning. Major cities including Houston, San Antonio, Austin, Fort Worth, Galveston and Corpus Christi, as well as a handfuls of cities in eastern, central and northern parts of Texas have all issued boil-water notices. Many Texans have had no running water at all for at least a day or more.

Disclosure: CPS Energy and Oncor have been financial supporters of The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan news organization that is funded in part by donations from members, foundations and corporate sponsors. Financial supporters play no role in the Tribune's journalism. Find a complete list of them here.

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