Thousands lose electricity
Despite successful repairs in some areas, hundreds of Northeast Texas residents remain without power following Friday's ice storm.
Much of the region - including Commerce, Sulphur Springs, Paris and Bonham - is served by Oncor Electric Delivery. More than 2,500 Oncor employees and contractors have arrived in Texas to to enact emergency repairs.
"We have our employees and outside utilities and contractors positioned across our service territory, prepared to respond as soon as possible," said Oncor chief operating officer Jim Greer.
"With winter storms like this one, we see ice accumulate on tree limbs over time and new outages can continue for several hours, or even days, after the storm blows through as trees finally give way to the weight of the ice. That's what we are preparing for here," Greer said.
Greer asks customers to avoid fallen power lines and tree limbs that might be touching them.
"Safety of our employees and the public is our number one priority so it's important that people always assume that any downed power line is energized and dangerous,” Greer said.
Lamar County has been hit particularly hard. Oncor representative David Collier told The Paris News that he expects many in Lamar County to remain without electricity overnight.
"We're working but there's a lot of trees down," Collier said.
Lamar Country Electric Coop is assisting Oncor in repair efforts. Coop representative Jerry Williams cautioned that repairs could not be complete until later this weekend.
"Everytime we get something fixed another tree falls," Williams told The Paris News. "We will continue to work but some are looking at tomorrow or even Sunday."
A map illustrating the status of Oncor's service area can be found here.
Greenville Electric Utility Service, which serves most of Greenville, reported that as of late Friday afternoon, approximately 200-250 of the utility's customers are still without power, but they are reported to be in "isolated" situations and are not in any large groups in the city. Some of the homes will need to have new meters installed before power can be restored, due to the existing meters being ripped from the home's exterior. GEUS said crews will be working through the night and into the weekend, as needed, to restore power.
Sharyland Utilities, which serves customers in portions of Hunt and Collin counties, said in a release that crews are working to restore power due to multiple outages near the communities of Celeste, Greenville, and Farmersville.