Power outages leave East Texans out of patience - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Power outages leave East Texans out of patience

By Philippe Djegal - email

SMITH COUNTY, TX (KLTV) - Right now thousands of East Texans remain without power, left in the cold, waiting and looking for places to warm up. Oncor says power for more than 30,000 East Texas businesses and residents has been restored, but they still have nearly 20,000 without power.

3,000 are in the dark in Athens, less than 1,000 are out of power in Nacogdoches County, nearly 1,095 are powerless in Gregg County and, in Tyler, 14,000 are without power.

Disabled East Texan Charles Christensen lost power early Thursday morning.

"It's very bad," said Christensen. "I have poor circulation."

The majority of his neighbors in Flint are also without power. However, Charles is a diabetic. He's lost three toes, and can't breathe well on his own.

"It's a generator that generates oxygen and runs on electricity," explained Christensen.

Taylor Home Health Supply arrived shortly after KLTV did, with several oxygen tanks to help Charles get through the outage. But "a tank of oxygen doesn't last but maybe four hours," said Charles.

"My feet - they are too cold," said 13-year-old Jaqueline Flores. "I can barely move them."

"It's really cold and we have been staying in the car for a longtime," said 11-year-old Carla Totis, Jaqueline's sister.

Totis and the rest of her family also lost power Thursday morning. The kids enjoy playing in the snow, but they are running out of places to warm up. For now, they are taking turns sitting in their SUV with the heater on. Carla says the toughest part is watching her one year old brother suffer.

"He's really cold and he's a little boy right now," said Totis.

"Some of them have been out of power for well over 30 hours at this point," said Charles Hill, an operations manager at Oncor.

More than 200 Oncor contractors are busy restoring power across East Texas. Many of them working 24-hour shifts. One crew is removing tree limbs from downed power lines across the street from Carla's family. More than 100 customers in her neighborhood are without power.

"It's been like hell for three days," said Lawanda Jones, Carla's neighbor.

In the meantime, Charles in Flint sees no sign of help. 

"My cardiologist I used to have gave me a lifetime guarantee that I was going to live until I died, and that has worked so far," said Christensen.

"It's just a slow process sometimes," said Hill.

Oncor expects power for most East Texas customers to be restored by Sunday evening.

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