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Dallas Focused On Warming Centers In The Event Of Another Debilitating Winter Storm

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - It's been almost one year since Texas' power grid failed to meet demand, leading to widespread blackouts across the state and a multitude of other problems.

Dallas' Office of Emergency Management met with the city council to give their update on what it's doing to prepare if something like this happens again this winter.

After last February's winter storms, it started identifying locations that could serve as warming centers for the city.

The hope was to have fixed generators in certain libraries and rec centers, but because of supply chain issues their original plan is changing.

Back in September, the Dallas City Council approved the $1.8 million purchase of eight fixed generators that would be put in three city libraries and five rec centers.

"There's a council item on Wednesday for electrical and installation work," Director of Emergency Management Rocky Vaz said during Monday night's public safety meeting. "Once that is approved, building services will start the work. Unfortunately, they will not be ready for this winter season."

"It is concerning of course and we want the best for our residents, but we also understand that with the pandemic, with all the other things that are going on that plans sometimes get changed," Director of Emergency Management Rhonda Simpson said.

The city is now hoping to have six mobile power units that would each be capable of providing enough power to heat a rec center gym, but again there's a shipping delay.

"I just was notified the generators will be here next week," Vaz said. "We're still waiting on the HVAC & the trailer. They're hoping to have this complete package hopefully within 3 to 4 weeks."

Vaz said a contractor would need to be hired for the install.

Councilwoman Cara Mendelsohn asked about hiring multiple contractors for a quicker install.

"This seems very inefficient that we would have purchased these and not installed them and it would take so long to do so," Mendelsohn said.

If it comes to it, the city has the ability to use private charter buses as temporary warming stations. It's also identified vendors it can source large quantities of water from and says AT&T, Verizon & T-Mobile will make temporary charging stations available.

ERCOT says it has completed inspections at more than 300 electric generation units which represent 85% of the megawatt hours lost due the outages at 22 transmission station facilities last February.

It has identified 10 units that needed corrections and most of them have already been made.

ERCOT will submit its final inspection report on January 18.

These are the eight Dallas locations identified for the fixed generators:

• Audelia Road Branch Library
• Beckley-Saner Recreation Center
• Jaycee Zaragoza Recreation Center
• Kleberg-Rylie Branch Library
• Marcus Mark Recreation Center
• Mountain Creek Branch Library
• Pleasant Oaks Recreation Center
• Timberglen Recreation Center

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