HOUSTON – As Anthony Campbell puts it: “Power runs a long way.”
Thursday night, parts of The Woodlands and Conroe, found out this truth the hard way.
”Yeah, we lost power yesterday,” said Marcelo Levan.
The loss of power the result Hurricane Laura’s powerful landfall 200 miles away in Cameron, Louisiana, two nights ago.
“Man, I was really surprised,” said Campbell in regards to the devastation in Louisiana linked to power outages in Montgomery and Galveston counties.
Here is the connection
Entergy Texas, a company with deep ties to Louisiana, has a small presence on Texas’ east side through its provider, MISO. Officials said, with several key lines damaged, MISO had to maintain a level of 60 HZ to ensure the entire grid would not fail.
In order to avoid losing the whole grid for the region, they redirected power away, which produced the blackouts in Texas.
”We have to be mindful this is a serious weakness, we’ve seen it 15 years ago, we see it now,” said State Senator Paul Bettencourt.
Bettencourt said the area faced similar electrical supply issues during Hurricane Rita. He believes it is time for the state to examine moving utility boundaries to where all of Texas feeds off one system.
”We are the only state that has an independent power grid in the country, and it would just be great for the entire state to be able to have the advantage of that,” he said.
A spokesperson for Entergy said the company was caught cold by MISO.
”We didn’t have a heads up. This was a last resort measure,” the spokesperson said.
There is still potential for a blackout this weekend, officials said.
“It still does remain fragile. We currently don’t anticipate more rolling blackouts,” said a spokesperson.
To assist with the efforts to protect Texans, the state’s Public Utilities Commission ordered the city of College Station to sell Entergy electricity in an effort to offset a “degradation of system capacity” created by Laura, according to the commission.
Entergy reported back at normal operations by Friday afternoon, with less than 200 customers in Conroe and The Woodlands still experiencing issues.