Dallas' Patchwork Power Grid Left Some In The Dark Too Long, But What Will Oncor Do To Prevent Future Problems?

Icemageddon 2013 branches

Nothing anyone has written about the recent Icepocalypse resonates with me as much as this bit from DMN beat writer James Osborne’s Icemaggedon aftermath coverage:

For more than three days, Angela Ponce and her family huddled by space heaters powered by a small generator. They wore mittens and hats to breakfast. All the while, Ponce looked around her neighborhood in Lake Highlands and wondered why the folks up the street still had their lights on.

“My friend who lives up on Windy Hill brought it up. She said, ‘Why do y’all always lose power and we never do?’ ” Ponce said.

“I’m a normal human being driving around before dinner trying to get warm. And I’m seeing people across the street from me with their Christmas lights on. I’ll say it, I’m bitter. It’s not their fault, but it’s a hard pill to swallow.”

That was my family, huddled around sipping hot chocolate (hot, thanks to my gas range and its magnificent ability to boil water without using electricity) underneath two feather duvets in my Casa View Haven home, occupying our 2-year-old, Cooper, with games on the iPad. When the electricity didn’t come back on by the time the iPad’s battery was dead, we knew we had to find someplace else to wait.

Ice tree on car E Dallas

The problem was, all of our friends who offered us a place to hang out, lost power in rapid succession. Just moments after we loaded a change of clothes and our air bed (battery powered) in our car, our dear accommodating friend called to tell us that his power was now kaput, too.

And it was frustrating to see that two blocks over from us, homes had Christmas lights ablaze. Too bad that two blocks was too far to string an extension cord, and so sad that even some of these folks would experience intermittent outages between early Friday morning and late Monday evening, which was, according to the voices on our neighborhood association Facebook page, the time at which the last of the powerless among us was celebrating the wonders of electricity.

And yes, Oncor and the many teams they recruited to fix this horrible weather aberration, worked as hard as they could for days. But you know what my father always said? An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Yes, we know that the ice storm came earlier than any other storm in recent memory, catching all the deciduous trees in Dallas off guard. But why were there limbs hanging over lines in the first place? Why weren’t trees trimmed back like they should be?

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Expert real estate stager and frequent contributor to CandysDirt.com Karen Eubank says that almost every listing on which she consults, she says the trees most often need some kind of preventative maintenance. It’s true that older neighborhoods in Dallas are loved and celebrated for their mature trees, but, as my mother said to me via text as I was warming my tootsies by the fire in Forney, “Your huge trees are lovely, but are they ever a liability!”

I couldn’t agree more, Mom.

I guess the question remains: Will we remember what caused this horrible scene when Oncor cruises alleys with chainsaws in spring?

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