Encore, Oncor!

By Nancy Black

Actually, no. I do NOT want Oncor to do another performance like they did two weeks ago. But, wow, what a performance they gave! I was preparing to vacuum when the Super Sunday Storm hit Dallas. Just as I was reaching with the cord to the electrical socket, the lights went out. It was two in the afternoon, so the dogs and I could still see. And what we witnessed looking outside was frightening. I sent a video to my daughter of the view from our front door. You can hear me in the clip saying, “Pretty sure this is what a hurricane looks like!”

We were lucky. Our power came back on about an hour after the storm had passed. But as everyone knows by now, more than 350,000 homes, businesses and facilities lost power for days. Oncor, and every other electrical company within 200 miles of Dallas, came to the rescue! I drove by the parking lot at Mockingbird Lane and Abrams Road, and there were so many trucks staged in the area it looked like a convention for power companies. 

One name on the side of a huge truck read, “Higher Power” electric company. I thought that was rather clever.

Photo by Nancy Black

All this talk about electricity got me thinking about solar and wind power. If all those people who lost electricity used solar energy in their homes, would they have power when everyone else didn’t? 

According to Solar Energy World, a company that sells solar panels: “If you have solar panels installed on your roof or property, they will continue to generate electricity during power outages as they do every day because the panels still absorb sunlight and solar energy. However, you will not be able to use that energy to run your home during a power outage unless you also have a battery back-up system.” Of course, the back-up battery system costs more money, but it does allow for your refrigerator and lights to stay on for 2-3 days if the local grid goes down.

Then what about wind energy? That super storm sure had a lot of wind associated with it. I know wind energy exists, but I have no idea how it gets from those huge turbines to our homes. Or how the winds from that storm could be “captured” to keep the lights on. And maybe it can’t. But it is clear that wind energy is a clean, affordable way to reduce the nation’s vulnerability to energy price spikes and supply disruptions.  

Everyone was so freaked out after the storm because they didn’t have power or, gosh forbid, Internet access. Maybe it is time we started expanding our horizons as far as power goes. 

Until then, “Bravo, Oncor!”