We've received an overwhelming amount of phone calls to the newsroom this morning from people concerning power outages across the city. Angry people called from different parts of town saying they had no power. Turns out, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, the organization that controls the state's electricity grid, instructed utility companies to begin rotating outages that are controlled and temporary. In a release, they say these are required to compensate for a generation shortage due to numerous plant trips that occurred because of the extreme weather. The power outages are lasting 10 to 45 minutes per neighborhood. The locations and durations are determined by the local utility company, and hospitals and nursing homes have been exempt. Officials tell us they do not know how long the need for these rotating outages will last. Consumers and businesses are urged to reduce their electricity use to the lowest level possible.
TAMIU has officially released their staff and students from work and classes for the day. Due to rolling black outs, officials have decided to give their staff and students the day off. However, work and classes will resume as scheduled tomorrow. You can also look for any updates on their Facebook or Twitter accounts as well as their official tamiu.edu website.
Meanwhile, we have confirmed within the last 30 minutes that LCC has released students due to the blackouts. Power will be restored at the campus at 2PM this afternoon. So, classes will resume then. Students who have classes after 2PM must report back to Laredo Community College.
Schools across both districts have also been affected by these rolling blackouts. In an official statement from Laredo Independent School District, officials say "LISD facilities are equipped with emergency lights that stay on 3 to 4 hours. In addition, all LISD athletic events have been canceled for today and tomorrow. As of right now, LISD is expecting classes to be held tomorrow, Thursday, and Friday as regularly scheduled." They will meet at 4 o'clock to revisit the situation. Reports from frustrated parents indicate that students have contacted them about prolonged periods of time in which they have been left in the dark with no power nor heat. United Independent School District officials have addressed the issue by assuring parents that students in most schools have not been greatly affected with outages coming in short intervals. However, there are two campuses in particular that have closed due to prolonged power outages. Those include the early college high school located on the TAMIU campus that is composed of students from both school districts, and Alexander high school has dismissed classes, as well. Parents can pick up their children at school. Those that ride the bus to school will be bussed back to their location.
Officials with the Catholic Diocese report none of their schools experienced any problems this morning. St. Peter's school did experience a small rolling blackout, but electricity was restored after a few minutes. We're told no pipes broke, and heaters are working at full capacity. Kids are also being kept indoors throughout the day.