Downtown Dallas buildings will go dark to help stave off blackouts
Some of the most brilliant buildings in downtown Dallas will be powering off on July 11, in response to a request from the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) to conserve power in order to avert rolling blackouts, with a possibility of future shutdowns this week.
ERCOT has asked residents and businesses to cut back on energy use. Downtown buildings that have already made plans to turn out the lights include three of the most distinctively lit buildings in the district:
- Reunion Tower, aka the ball
- Omni Dallas Hotel, famous for its west-facing light display
- Bank of America building, known for its iconic outline, traditionally in green
"Reunion Tower will go dark tonight as per ERCOT's request for power conservation," said a spokesperson, who said that the lights-out initiative could continue.
"Reunion Tower continues to monitor this situation and as usual, do its part to help per ERCOT’s appeal for power conservation," the spokesperson said.
An Omni Dallas spokesperson said the hotel will do a partial shutdown to accommodate a previously planned event.
"We have a group in house that is having a gathering on Pegasus Lawn and we’ll have the lights on from sunset tonight (8:37 pm) to 10 pm for them facing downtown," the spokesperson said. "However, we will have the back lights facing the highways off all night. We will also continue to have the lights off in the morning and reevaluate from there."
"It's a conversation we've been having since last week when temperatures were staying high throughout the day," she said.
This is not the first time that downtown buildings have shut down to save energy: The same buildings also powered off during the devastating winter storm in February 2021, when electricity providers across Texas executed rolling power outages across the state.
Downtown Dallas' major high-rise buildings also joined together in 2020 and 2021 to shut off their lights as part of Lights Out, a program to save the lives on migrating birds, who fly into brightly lit buildings and die.
Meanwhile the city is advising residents to be prepared in the event of power loss:
- Take an inventory now of the items you need that rely on electricity.
- Charge devices and plan to use batteries to meet your needs if the power goes out.
- Text DALLAS NEWSENGto 468311 to subscribe to City of Dallas text News Updates.
- Subscribe to Oncor text alerts.
- Locate and test emergency supplies in case of no power. Have enough nonperishable food and water and flashlights with extra batteries for every household member.
- Use a surge protector for appliances or unplug unused electronics to avoid damage from electrical surges and conserve power.
- Refrigerate medicines and power medical devices.
- Go to an alternate location for cooling relief.
- Keep freezers and refrigerators closed. A closed refrigerator keeps food cold for about four hours. A full freezer keeps the temperature for about 48 hours. Use coolers with ice if necessary.
- Only use generators outdoors and away from windows.
- Check on your neighbors. Older adults and young children are especially vulnerable to extreme temperatures.