A deadly winter storm across most of Texas has crippled the state’s power supply leading to rolling blackouts.
It could be days until power is fully restored to the estimated 4 million Texans who are without it during freezing temperatures.
Mark Wiggins lives north of Austin and told Channel 2′s Matt Johnson that the roads are frozen over, making travel dangerous too.
“We’re just sitting in the dark. There’s a single candle in here. And the only sound that you can hear is our faucets dripping to keep them from freezing,” Wiggins said.
Could rolling blackouts ever happen in Georgia? Experts say the state is in better shape to avoid such a drastic step.
Emily Grubert with Georgia Tech said if Georgia was hit with a storm as massive and damaging as the one in Texas, its multistate power grid is more equipped.
“We do have more connections to a much bigger grid than Texas has,” Grubert said. “We could draw from a much wider geography if we did run into trouble that way. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that we’re completely resilient against emergency conditions.”
In 2014, “Snowmageddon” brought its share of problems, but a statewide power shortage wasn’t one of them.
“We don’t have windmills that freeze over and stop producing. And that’s the situation that’s happened in Texas,” said Public Service Commissioner Bubba McDonald.
McDonald said maintaining the state’s power supply is challenging and costly but necessary in case of a disaster.
“There are multitude of maintenance operations and service operations that is necessary in a system in order to make sure that we don’t have rolling brownouts in rolling blackouts in the state of Georgia,” McDonald said.
In Texas, the state’s electric grid operator opted not to prepare its system for extreme cold.
“You got to have thermal management practices in place. So Texas did not because it’s such a rare event,” said Dr. Marilyn Brown with Georgia Tech.
For Texans in the dark, they said they’re relying on each other for information and hope.
“We don’t really know exactly what’s going to happen — whether or not this is going to start to improve over the next couple of days or whether it’s going to get worse before it gets better,” Wiggins said.
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