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Son of Central Texas man who died after losing power during freeze files lawsuit



TX – The son of a Whitney man who died as a result of exposure to severe cold after losing power in his home during the historic February freeze has filed a lawsuit against Oncor Electric Delivery.

Elzie D. Ford, 68, died on Feb. 20 at a Waco hospital, a day after he was found unresponsive in his home in the 100 block of Bear Creek Road, near Lake Whitney.

According to the lawsuit, Ford had no electricity or heat starting on Feb. 14 as temperatures remained below freezing in the region for more than 200 hours straight, dropping to as low as one below zero on Feb. 16.

With the roads impassable, Ford’s son, Larry Ford, was unable to check on his father until Feb. 19, when he found his father unresponsive in his frigid home.

The suit Larry Ford filed in Dallas alleges Oncor Electric Delivery failed to heed findings of investigations of similar winter blackouts in 1989 and 2011 and did not prepare for the predicted spike in electricity demand and did not manage the supply once the blackout began.

Oncor didn’t comment on the suit, but said in a statement, “We are heartbroken by the devastating struggles that our customers and all of Texas endured during the recent power emergency. We are unable to comment further due to pending litigation. It is important to note that Oncor does not generate or produce electricity.”

Deregulation in 2002 forced Texas utilities to separate their businesses into three parts; retail providers responsible for the supply of energy to consumers, distribution and transmission providers responsible for delivery of electricity, and power generation responsible for generating electricity.

Oncor provides transmission and delivery services.

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas, or ERCOT manages 85% of the state’s electric load and made decisions about rolling brownouts as temperatures fell and electric use skyrocketed.