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A Quarter of Americans at Risk of Winter Power Blackouts, Grid Emergencies

  • Grids from New England to Texas could see supply shortages
  • Natural gas, coal and fuel oil supplies are all strained
Transmission towers in Houston, Texas. 

Transmission towers in Houston, Texas. 

Photographer: Brandon Bell/Getty Images 

Updated on

Large swaths of North America may face blackouts and other energy emergencies during bouts of extreme cold this winter as coal and natural gas supplies tighten, according to a US regulatory agency. 

The electric grids at most risk of supply shortfalls are in Texas, the central US system stretching from the Great Lakes to Louisiana, New England and the Carolinas, the North American Electric Reliability Council said in its seasonal assessment Thursday. Severe weather may stress grids by causing demand to soar while supplies of natural gas, coal and back-up fuel oil are all tight, leaving little room for error, according to the report.