Fact Check: Did Wealthy Areas Around Dallas Not Experience Rolling Power Outages?

Texas is in crisis mode as a winter storm has caused millions to lose power in their homes during freezing temperatures.

The effects have been widely shared on social media by those who have lost power. One user tweeted an image of icicles hanging from their apartment ceiling fan on Monday.

"I have many friends and some family members who have had no power for over 24 hours in Texas. This is infuriating. Their house inside temp down in the 20's," one user tweeted.

This is how cold it is at my Apartment.

As a Texan, yes, I'm certainly not built for this. I don't even care. pic.twitter.com/FMt8imglJp

— π“π‡πŽπŒπ€π’ ππ‹π€π‚πŠ ☩ (@ThomasBlackGG) February 16, 2021

The Claim

Multiple social media users have expressed complaints, claiming that wealthy regions of Texas have not been hit by rolling blackouts while many have suffered without power for over a day.

One Twitter user on Tuesday posted, "Hey @CityOfDallas care to explain why the wealthiest section of Dallas has not experienced any loss of power while all other areas have been down/had rolling blackouts for over 24 hours?" in a tweet that received more than 300 likes and 100 retweets.

Hey @CityOfDallas care to explain why the wealthiest section of Dallas has not experienced any loss of power while all other areas have been down/had rolling blackouts for over 24 hours? pic.twitter.com/OUnpgl9jF6

— Buzz Walton (@Cade_______) February 16, 2021

The tweet appears to show a screenshot of the wealthy Dallas suburb of Highland Park without any power outages.

One tweet also claimed Uptown, Preston Hollow and Farmers Branch as other Dallas areas that did not lose power.

"It's so wild that this is how we're living in our minority-majority communities, but Highland Park, Uptown, Preston Hollow, and Farmers Branch never even lost power. #texaspoweroutage."

I have many friends and some family members who have had no power for over 24 hours in Texas. This is infuriating. Their house inside temp down in the 20’s.
WTH is going on?

— April in TX (@BGHeaven) February 16, 2021

The Facts

As of mid-afternoon Wednesday, almost 3 million customers were out of power in Texas, according to PowerOutage.us.

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) is Texas' electric grid manager that represents 90 percent of the state's electric load.

Oncor Electric Delivery (ONCOR) is the largest transmission distribution company for Texas and the largest electric service provider for Dallas. In Dallas, ONCOR's outage map on Wednesday showed more than 22,000 active outages.

Sunday night into Monday morning, ERCOT directed ONCOR to begin the rolling outages, ONCOR spokeswoman Kerri Dunn told Newsweek.

ONCOR's outage map displays both the rolling outages, which they refer to as "controlled," and the weather-related outages, according to Dunn.

"Right now, this is overall a generation issue," Dunn said.

When generation of electricity drops, there is a loss of supply, which is what has occurred in Texas over the past few days.

ERCOT gave ONCOR the directive to drop a certain amount of load, according to Dunn.

ONCOR's intentions were to rotate outages around the grid to provide relief for its customers. Some outages have lasted longer than expected because of the amount of load ONCOR has had to drop, Dunn said.

The rolling (controlled) outages are the majority of the outages displayed on ONCOR's map, according to Dunn. The location of the rolling (controlled) outages depend on how much load, which Dunn said can be understood as the energy, that ERCOT has directed ONCOR to drop.

ONCOR is primarily focusing its rolling outages on residential neighborhoods and commercial areas to avoid dropping the electricity to hospitals and critical infrastructure according to Dunn.

"It would normally be everyone gets cut off for a short period of time as we go through these rotations, but because we haven't been able to move through those rotations you're seeing them everywhere," Dunn said.

4 bricks, a terracotta pot, and some candles will heat a room for anyone who needs it.

It's so wild that this is how we're living in our minority-majority communities, but Highland Park, Uptown, Preston Hollow, and Farmers Branch never even lost power. #texaspoweroutage pic.twitter.com/mX7OaSC2Rc

— Amanda Harris (@_amanda_jean) February 16, 2021

Regarding areas hit by ONCOR's rolling outages, Dunn said, "That's decided at our operations level and at our emergency plans level. It's not looked at as far as geographical- or population-wise, it's looked at from an engineering and mathematical standpoint."

Dunn advised that looking at ONCOR's outage map by ZIP code, not by location, is more helpful to gain an accurate picture.

She said ONCOR has received reports from customers outside of Highland Park saying that they believe Highland Park still had power, which was not true.

"We're hearing from customers who are in Highland Park who looked at the map and didn't believe they saw their outage reflected accurately on the map," Dunn said.

Viewing Highland Park by ZIP code shows the region partially covered in red and yellow. That means that there are more than 1,000 customers affected by outages in the red region and about 501 to 1000 customers out in the yellow region.

Other Dallas areas that social media users alleged did not lose power are the neighborhoods of Preston Hollow and Uptown and the city of Farmers Branch.

On ONCOR's map, viewing the region of Preston Hollow by ZIP code shows that it is covered in red and green. That means more than 1,000 customers were out in the red region and 51 to 500 in the green region. Most of Uptown's region was covered in red, with more than 1,000 customers out of power. The region of Farmers Branch was entirely covered in red, with more than 1,000 customers out of power.

"We're trying to find these areas where we've had customers who are without power for longer periods of time and as soon as we have the supply to do so, we're doing everything we can to give them a moment of relief," Dunn said.

The Ruling

False.

ONCOR's power outage map shows sweeping area outages throughout the Dallas area.

Highland Park, Preston Hollow, Uptown, and Farmers Branch can be seen experiencing power outages by viewing ONCOR's map by ZIP code. The outages displayed are rolling and weather-related.

texas storm outage
Millions have been hit by power outages in the U.S. John Weast/Getty Images