This is a developing story and will be updated.
Updated 10:50 a.m. Feb. 19
Entergy Texas reported in a Feb. 19 news release that it expected to restore power to all customers who could safely receive power on that day.
As of 8 a.m., Entergy reported 3,177 customers without power. The previous night, 6,522 customers were without power, according to the release. Areas in which outages were still active included 1,096 customers in the Conroe network, which includes Montgomery and Willis, and 64 outages were reported in the New Caney network.
Entergy said in the release it will continue to monitor the situation amid freezing conditions the night of Feb. 19 and the morning of Feb. 20. It requested conservation efforts through the morning of Feb. 20.
Updated 10:05 a.m. Feb. 18
Montgomery County Judge Mark Keough said in a Facebook post on the morning of Feb. 18 he had been part of a conference call updating elected officials on the status of Entergy outages in the region. He said progress was continuing, but there were still large pockets in Montgomery County without power.
Keough said he asked the company to prioritize communities that had been without power for as many as five or more days such as Walden, Texas National, Lake Conroe Hills and La Salle Oaks.
Keough said in the post the company described some of the reasons why power restoration has taken so long.
"The issue preventing restoration as I was informed has to deal with the load on the lines that are currently out," Keough said. "As Entergy energizes the lines the transformers and line breakers fail. Equipment and additional crews have been brought in to work on these areas."
He said about 1,000 Entergy crew members were working in the area.
CenterPoint outages in the county were limited to a few hundred homes which were isolated failures at the neighborhood level, he said.
Updated 9 a.m. Feb. 18
The number of Entergy customers in Montgomery County without power continues to fall, reaching 5,374 as of 8:59 a.m., according to Entergy's outage map.
There are 7,203 total customers in Montgomery County out of power as of 8:49 a.m., according to the Electric Reliability of Council of Texas.
Updated 2:37 p.m. Feb. 17
The number of Entergy customers in Montgomery County without power has fallen to 8,714 as of 2:55 p.m., according to Entergy's website, a sharp fall from its earlier peak of nearly 60,000.
Meanwhile, 85,388 total customers in Montgomery County are out of power as of 1:36 p.m., according to the Electric Reliability Council of Texas.
Updated 10:20 a.m. Feb. 17
Montgomery County Judge Mark Keough provided a brief update on countywide power outages via his Facebook page just before 10 a.m., Feb. 17.
Keough said he did not have an update from CenterPoint, but Entergy indicated that power restoration had been ongoing throughout the night and as of the morning of Feb. 17, a little more than 15,000 customers did not have power in Montgomery County.
"Additional crews are out today working according to them to fix the localized distribution failures which are hampering them restoring power to all homes," Keough wrote in the Facebook post. "Entergy told us they will work through the day and night to restore the network. Their goal is to have everyone up today. Weather could play a factor in this timeline and/or add to their workload if the new ice causes outages or disrupts distribution."
Keough added that power generation was restored at Willis power plants, and the regulator for Entergy had not called for additional cutbacks as of the morning of Feb. 17. Rolling outages were not expected to resume, he said.
Updated 5:20 p.m. Feb. 16
Montgomery County Judge Mark Keough made the following post on Facebook about 4:40 p.m. after a call with Entergy officials:
Entergy Update: Wrapping up a call with entergy. Now for some good news. Generation at the power plants have been...
Posted by Mark Keough County Judge on Tuesday, February 16, 2021
Updated 4:45 p.m. Feb. 16
There are still 36,657 Entergy customers in Montgomery County without power as of 4:36 p.m., although this number has continued to fall since Feb. 15, when it hit nearly 60,000.
Entergy officials said in a news release sent at about 3 p.m. that winter forecasts could cause additional outages over the next few days. Entergy's reliability coordinator, MISO, had cancelled its order for power outages, and Entergy Texas began restoring power for customers shortly after.
“Our crews have made incredible progress to return several of our power plants to service which allows us to meet customer demand at this time," Sallie Rainer, Entergy Texas president and CEO, said in a statement. "However, we are closely watching and preparing for additional winter weather tonight that will impact our service area.”
Crews are working to restore customers affected by the load shed, which can take "many hours" to complete, according to the news release. Additionally, some equipment may have been damaged due to the cold weather and the amount of load being consumed.
In response to some areas of Entergy's outage map not showing areas without power as being affected by an outage, Senior Communications Specialist Allie Payne said in an email that there is a lag on the outage map.
If customers are still without power but their neighbors have power, they can call 1-800-ENTERGY to report an outage.
Many residents have been without power for hours—some for more than 24 hours.
Sherry Jones, who lives in the River Plantation subdivision, said her power has been on for about six hours in the last 36 hours. Her pipes are frozen, and she has no water.
"My husband is in a[n] electric wheelchair with no way to keep it charged," she said in an email. "If we did not have a gas-log fireplace, we would have frozen to death."
Updated 8:25 a.m. Feb. 16
Montgomery County Judge Mark Keough posted a Facebook statement just after 8 a.m. Tuesday, Feb. 16, stating that Entergy officials told local officials Tuesday morning an attempt overnight to restore power temporarily to approximately 45,000 Entergy customers was unsuccessful due to local equipment malfunctions, such as frozen service equipment and sub stations. Keough said Entergy is working with crews to correct these issues, which prevent power from being restored during the outages.
Keough said customers whose power has been restored and then lost again are within a rolling outage; customers who have not yet regained power are likely in an area with equipment malfunctions, Keough said.
Keough said Entergy officials gave no timeline as to when local distribution issues could be resolved.
Entergy officials said in a Feb. 16 statement that it has begun additional power outages across Eastern Texas, including Jefferson, Orange, Hardin and Liberty counties, in an effort to prevent a more extensive, prolonged outage.
“We apologize for the inconvenience these outages may cause, but we have an unusual situation right now driven by unusual conditions. We are working to respond and restore power as soon as it is safely possible,” said Stuart Barrett, Entergy vice president of customer service, in the release. “This loss of generation combined with the peak load has caused a strain on the system. As a result, we are short of the power needed to meet our customers’ demands in that area.”
Updated 9:35 p.m. Feb. 15
Montgomery County Precinct 3 Commissioner James Noack posted a Twitter thread just after 9 p.m. Monday night stating that Entergy officials told local leaders a delay in restoring power to Montgomery County customers was due to a setback in restarting power generation at the Montgomery County power plant, and rolling outages will continue for most of Entergy's 165,000 customers who lost power the previous night.
Rolling outages will continue into Tuesday, Noack said in the thread.
According to Noack, Entergy officials said power will be restored for several hours at a time and then turned off for up to six hours on a rotating basis.
Noack also said Entergy stated some areas are not subject to the outages because they fall within "Priority 1" areas with infrastructure facilities, hospitals or fire stations.
THREAD: Full power restoration to Entergy Texas customers will last at least through the night, Entergy officials informed local leaders during a 7:30 p.m. update Monday.
The delay is due to a setback in restarting power-generation at Entergy’s Montgomery County power plant and
— James Noack (@jamesnoack) February 16, 2021
Updated 5:30 p.m. Feb. 15
County Judge Mark Keough said in a Facebook post that according to Sallie Rainer, president and CEO of Entergy Texas, the Lewis Creek Unit 2 is now back online. The Montgomery County Power Plant in Willis is in startup and is producing 100 megawatts but has "several critical steps" before it can reach full output of close to 1000 megawatts, Keough said. Officials expect it to reach capacity at around 7 p.m.
Entergy Senior Communications Specialist Allie Payne previously told Community Impact Newspaper they could not comment on the status of individual generation, however Entergy has confirmed they are beginning rolling outages.
Updated 5:10 p.m. Feb. 15
As temperatures remain frigid and nightfall approaches, tens of thousands in Montgomery County are still without power. As of 4:48 p.m., 57,966 customers were affected by outages, according to Entergy's website, although this number dropped to 57,463 by 4:54 p.m and 55,841 by 5:06 p.m.
Some have been without power since the early morning hours.
The latest news release from Entergy, sent at 3:42 p.m., states the revised outage rotation will allow the company to more routinely cycle customers on and off, beginning with those affected the longest.
"We are continuing to work to return generation to service to provide additional power to serve customers," the statement reads. "Two units are in initial startup, if successful, they will be operating to serve load this evening. Given the severity of the cold temperatures, this is subject to change."
Still, many customers said they have been left in the dark for hours, and temperatures are continuing to drop.
Brooke Deklavs, who lives in the Creekside subdivision in The Woodlands, said in an email that she has been out of power since 2 a.m.
"It's freezing in our home," she said. "So frustrated."
Dozens of residents posted on Nextdoor that they have been without power for over 10 hours or longer, including subdivisions such as Wedgewood Falls, Montgomery Trace, Seven Coves, Walden on Lake Conroe and Bentwater.
Updated 3:30 p.m. Feb. 15
Following a 2 p.m. call with Entergy officials, Montgomery County Judge Mark Keough said rolling power outages throughout the county are expected to continue as the energy company works to restore power in the area.
In a Facebook post, Keough said Entergy is working to bring three generators in Willis back online after they failed earlier in the day due to freezing. Keough said the company was hopeful that full or partial restoration of local power service could be reached by this evening, although that timeline is not certain.
Keough also said Entergy is working to restore power to homes that have been offline the longest. In the meantime, he said Entergy requested that residents currently with power conserve their use as much as possible, and also that residents now without power conserve their usage as their homes come back online.
We're asking customers to voluntarily reduce electricity use until further notice. We're making this request as required by reliability coordinator @MISO_energy. Forced generation outages and frigid temps are causing critical shortages of electricity. https://t.co/Kiha7KyaXt pic.twitter.com/BHc7Id2vXD
— Entergy Texas (@EntergyTX) February 15, 2021
Updated 1:05 p.m. Feb. 15
Entergy began targeted customer power outages earlier this morning and may begin rotating customers, according to an Entergy news release sent at 12:23 p.m.
As temperatures remain freezing, 53,117 Montgomery County residents are left without power, according to Entergy, and some residents are reporting more than eight hours without power. However, as service restoration continues, Entergy officials said they anticipate the length of outages to lessen.
“We implemented outages on all available circuits, with the exception of circuits feeding critical customers, which has impacted our ability to rotate outages,” the news release stated. “We have been able to find an opportunity to begin rotating some customers at this time. We still remain under a directive from [Midcontinent Independent System Operator] to implement load reduction, but believe we will be able to start rotating these reductions so some customers who have been off will be able to come back online.”
Earlier this morning, County Judge Mark Keough posted on Facebook that the new Montgomery County Power Plant was shut off due to icing and two generators at Lewis Creek are not fully restored. At noon, Keough posted that restoration of power generation is ongoing.
Entergy officials told Community Impact Newspaper they were not able to comment on the status of individual generation. However, Senior Communications Specialist Allie Payne said a loss of generation combined with the peak load has caused a shortage of power.
“Due to bitterly cold temperatures and the winter storm, the demand for electricity has reached an all-time high,” she said. “As a result, we are short of the power needed to meet our customers’ demands.”
Resident Dana Pearson, who lives in Stonecrest Ranch, said on Nextdoor, a social media site, at 11:30 a.m. that although Entergy’s website shows her area as having power, she has been without power since 5:30 a.m.
“We are trying to locate any good firewood on property as we have five acres, and hopefully we can stay warm until the power comes back,” she said.
Lisa Lynn, who lives in a trailer at White Oak Valley Estates, said she has had no power for hours and is “freezing.” She said she is frustrated she did not receive a warning about the outage. Kesha Leonard, who lives in Graystone Hills, said in an email at 12:30 p.m. that she has been without power since 5:30 a.m.
Other residents from neighborhoods such as Village of Panther Creek, Alden Bridge Drive, Deer Trail Estates and Whispering Pines also reported power outages that were not reflected on Entergy’s outage map.
Entergy officials did not immediately respond to requests for comment on why these outages are not shown on their website.
8:00 a.m. Feb. 15
Entergy Texas has started periodic power outages for its customers across southeast Texas as directed by its reliability coordinator, the Midcontinent Independent System Operator, amid winter storms that accumulated roughly half an inch to an inch of snow across Montgomery County. The power outages are a "last resort" to prevent more extensive, prolonged power outages that could severely affect the reliability of the power grid, according to a Feb. 15 news release from Entergy.
Depending on conditions, individual customers may experience multiple outages during the day.
As of 8:16 a.m., there were 50,148 residents in Montgomery County affected by the outages, according to Entergy. Tim Roadnight, a resident of Spring Benders Landing in The Woodlands, said his power has been out since 2 a.m. but he has a generator.
Entergy officials said the outages are necessary.
“We apologize for the inconvenience these outages may cause, but we have an unusual situation right now driven by extreme weather conditions. We are working to respond and restore power as soon as it is safely possible,” Stuart Barrett, vice president of customer service, said in the news release. “While our crews worked to prepare for this storm, a loss of generation combined with the peak load has caused a strain on the system. As a result, we are short of the power needed to meet our customers’ demands across southeast Texas.”
County Judge Mark Keough posted an update on his Facebook page.