DALLAS, Texas (NewsNation Now) — Millions of Texans are in the dark as the electric agency that oversees 90 percent of the state’s power continues with what began as rotating outages amid the winter storms.
The Lone Star state is still struggling to restore power as round two of the storm hits the state Wednesday.
NewsNation affiliate KTAB spoke with a woman in Abilene, Texas who is one of millions without power.
“Here it is 6 o’clock, 10 degrees and 41 in the house,” said Abiliene resident Anna Reyes-Clute.
The energy agency that governs the state’s power grid initiated rolling blackouts to conserve the surging demand. They promised to restore load as fast as possible.
More than 3.3 million customers in Texas were in the dark as of 1:00 p.m. EST Wednesday, according to poweroutage.us, a utility tracking site.
Elected officials including Texas Governor Greg Abbot and Houston’s Mayor Sylvester Turner call it a statewide system failure.
“Nobody imagined that more than 24 hours, people would still be without power at the coldest point in 30 years,” said Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner.
Governor Abbot announced an investigation into the agency and deployed the National Guard to assist with the chronic cold.
Among the fears of frostbite and other cold-weather injuries, local officials and EMS are warning about the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning as Texans try to heat their homes without power.
The deadly gas killed a mother and child trying to stay warm in their garage. Fourteen patients were hospitalized on Tuesday alone for carbon monoxide poisonings.
“Every time we have power losses, we lose people to carbon monoxide poisoning. It’s a silent killer, said Nim Kidd, Chief of the Texas Division of Emergency Management:.
There’s also growing concern about the impacts of extended power outages on those with medical conditions.
“You know, that’s concerning not only for temperature but also for people who are on oxygen or do need electronic devices for their health,” said Comfort Homes Director of Operations Kasey Breidenthal.
The cold snap also postponed the state’s shipments of COVID-19 vaccines. In a tweet, the state’s health department announced deliveries could pick back up on Wednesday.
President Joe Biden’s COVID-19 response coordinator Jeff Zients said Wednesday that the White House is encouraging governors and others to extend the hours of vaccination sites that have been forced to close due to the icy weather in Texas once they are able to reopen.
For now, residents across the state wait for power to be restored, and in some cases, even water. Abilene Texas has been without water and power for 24 hours due to electricity shortages.
“It’s just Texas weather, it’s unpredictable,” said Paul Anderson in Tyler, Texas.
NewsNation affiliate stations across Texas contributed to this report.