Lights off in Cross Roads

Shelli Parker, Athens Daily Review, Texas
·2 min read

Feb. 20—The Cross Roads community is still struggling after a short reprieve.

According to county officials, the Willow Springs Sub-Station which services approximately 500 homes has three sections. When one area was restored, the system had to acclimate to the load and stabilize before zone two could be connected. When workers attempted to restore power to that zone the system was unable to handle the load and it tripped the system, cutting off power to both as a safety feature.

"We are working down there as long as it takes to get them on," said Oncor Customer Service Area Manager Tom Trimble "We are going to work through the night if necessary, but it is a slow process."

When systems are overloaded they function similar to a water system and pressure has to be gradually built up to avoid blowing out a pipe. Electricity functions in a similar way. For those who live in older homes the best analogy is when your breaker flips as a safety measure to avoid a fire. If you try to run too much in an older home, such as multiple appliances, they breaker may flip. On a grand scale Cross Roads is essentially tripping the breaker.

Why is this happening? When the power turns off suddenly, many things are still plugged and running. As electricity is restored, and the "breaker" is flipped back on, it is getting hit at full capacity by hundreds of heaters, lights, appliances and more. The system starts to overheat and it trips off to avoid a fire. Residents can help the power lines stabilize and subsequently shorten the time they are without power by turning everything off. Unplug everything and turn the thermostat down to reduce the load hitting the system when power is restored.

"It is human nature to crank it up," said Tom Trimble, Oncor Customer Service Area Manager. "However heaters are a brutally large load, even larger than summer months demand. Please turn off and unplug everything you can. Turn your heat down low and gradually increase it to 68 degrees. This will keep the system from getting hit so hard."

Which means you have a better chance of keeping the lights on at home.

Trimble said that thewire.oncor.com has an FAQ answering many of the questions customers are asking such as why does everyone else have power in my area? Why does my outage show restored? Please visit this site for more information.

Workers will be working until this issue is fixed but the process is slow and it could take around 24 hours or more. If you are without power, please follow the tips to help reduce the load hitting the system and avoid powering everything up at once.