The Southwest Power Pool, a group of utilities across 14 states, called for rolling blackouts and power outages because the supply of reserve energy had been exhausted.
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In Houston, where county leaders had warned that the freeze could create problems on the scale of massive hurricanes that slam the Gulf Coast, one electric provider said power may not be restored to some homes until Tuesday. More than 500 people were hunkering down at one shelter, but Mayor Sylvester Turner said other warming centers had to be shut down because those locations, too, lost power.
State officials said soaring demand and cold weather knocking some power stations offline had pushed Texas’ system beyond the limits.
“This weather event, it’s really unprecedented. We all living here know that,” said Dan Woodfin, senior director of system operations at the Electric Reliability Council of Texas. He defended preparations made by grid operators and described the demand on the system as record-setting.