More than 2,500 combined Oncor employees, contractors and employees from other utilities are responding today to the power outages from the winter storm.  Crews from utilities as far away as Florida are responding in north Texas to assist with power restoration to Oncor customers.

The utility is putting its outage map to good use as about 250,000 customers are out of power because of the ice storm.

Preparations for the storm began Monday when Oncor reached out to about a half-dozen utilities that were expected to be unaffected by the storm.  In addition, the company canceled vacations and time off for employees to ensure there were enough crews to respond to predicted bad weather.

"We have our employees and outside utilities and contractors positioned across our service territory, prepared to respond as soon as possible," Chief Operating Officer Jim Greer said. "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."

In addition, he said, Oncor crews have to navigate the slick roads and icy conditions to make repairs, so restoration times can take longer than some spring or summer storms.

Greer urged customers to stay away from downed power lines and any 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. Many people don't realize that tree limbs can conduct electricity and by just touching them, customers are at risk of electrocution.  It's imperative that customers keep their families and pets away from downed lines and immediately call 911," he said.

Oncor has mobile and on-line outage reporting tools for customers.  Customers can utilize the company's text outage service that allows customers to text OUT to 66267 and report the outage without having to call in.  Those customers will receive restoration updates to the registered mobile phone.  Customers can register at any time, regardless of whether they're currently experiencing an outage.

Customers also can visit the outage map to see outages and predicted restoration times at or follow Oncor on Twitter or Facebook for regular updates.


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