Some of the most iconic buildings in downtown Dallas are powering down to help conserve energy during the winter storm.
Those include three buildings well known for their light displays: The Omni Dallas Hotel, Reunion Tower, and the Bank of America Building.
Electricity providers across Texas have initiated rolling power outages across the state, due to high demand in response to the winter storm. The rotating outages began at 1:25 am on Monday, February 15, and could be in place for a number of days.
A spokesperson for the Omni Dallas Hotel confirmed that the building would be going dark on February 15.
"Omni Dallas Hotel will be going dark till further notice, in an effort to conserve energy and support our community during this wintery inclement weather we’re facing," says Omni spokesperson Amber Bufkin.
Bufkin says that the Omni has not gone dark since it opened on November 11, 2011, with only one exception, when the hotel joined a “Lights Out” event in October 2020 to help birds during their annual migration.
Shutting down the lights is not a simple flip of a switch.
“This week electrical outages began in the very early morning on Monday, we realized in short order that we had to turn off the lights,” she says. “We have a scheduler that we can set up weeks in advance. Un-scheduling is a challenge though so in this instance, we’ve simply turned the computer off that plugs into our lighting system. The shutdown was not down as quickly as we would have liked, but we did make every effort to do it as soon as we knew there was a problem.
“This storm didn’t come as a surprise to the Metroplex but the energy depletion and power outages did,” Bufkin says. “While we enjoy commenting in our LED lights display on Texas weather, sports team wins or holidays, our community will always come first. We encourage everyone to do their part to keep everyone safe and warm.”
Dallas City Council member Adam Bazaldua says that the city is encouraging other businesses to follow suit.
"As we continue to experience winter weather and the many emergency impacts it has on our city, we have asked for residents to be prudent and conservative with their electricity usage," Bazaldua says in a statement. "While we all have a part to play in conservation of energy to prevent grid overwhelming, I want to be clear that the task is not one exclusive to residents only. I am urging all non-essential businesses to also do their part as we work through the electricity shortage situation with our energy providers. If you do not have to physically open your business and can work remotely, please do so."
"Additionally, please consider turning off any lights or electronics that are not needed for your businesses to survive, ie. decorative signage and/or buildings in the skyline with any decorative light features," Bazaldua says. "The City of Dallas has worked with the Omni Hotel to ensure we are not asking anything that we are not willing to do ourselves. The Omni lights will remain off through Friday to include the Pegasus and tree lights on their property."