Editorials

Pace of restoring power commendable given extent of storm damage

The storm that hit North Texas last Thursday was a freak, lasting only 15 to 20 minutes and producing officially only 0.32 inch of rain.

But it packed a powerful wallop of straight-line winds in excess of 90 mph that downed trees and power lines, causing one of the most extensive outages the area has seen.

More than 300,000 Oncor customers in Dallas-Fort Worth were without electricity that first night, and for thousands of residents it took days for the power to be restored.

All 75 campuses of the Arlington school district were closed Friday, as were 45 Dallas schools and the University of Texas at Arlington. Many businesses and roads went dark.

For those who had to endure long periods without electrical power, it had to be frustrating. And it was only natural to ask, “Why is it taking so long?”

Keep in mind that the extensive damage was widespread and, in the words of an Oncor spokesperson, “most complex.” Trees and branches that fell on many power lines had to be removed before service could be restored. Some electrical facilities in Dallas and Tarrant County had to be rebuilt, and damage in some areas first required electrical repairs of individual homes.

Oncor, along with eight utility companies from across the country, worked throughout the night over the weekend to return service to residents, and considering the extent of the damage, the pace and quality of the work are commendable.

By Friday night power had been restored to more than 60 percent of customers, and by Saturday evening only about 23 percent remained without service. Monday morning the number was down to about 3,000 still waiting for electricity. That pace still probably wasn’t appreciated by those who were waiting to get their residences and neighborhoods back online.

Note that not even the power companies can control the weather or avoid freakish storms.

What they can do is try to prevent the extent of downed lines during storms by continuing to trim trees that remain a constant hazard. That’s something residents should think about before complaining that the electric company “ruined” their beautiful old oak or elm.

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