AUSTIN, Texas — Editor's note: As of Monday, about 40% of Austin Energy customers are without power. ERCOT has ordered rolling power outages across the state.
As of Sunday at 11 a.m., fewer than 200 Austin Energy customers were without power with four remaining active outages. At its peak during the recent weather extremes, nearly 50,000 customers were without power.
On Sunday at 1 p.m., Austin Energy Chief Operating Officer Sidney Jackson provided updates on their efforts over the past few days.
"Thank you to Austin Energy customers for your patience as our crews work around the clock to ensure everyone’s power is restored," Austin Energy said in a press release Sunday. "Although most Austin Energy customers have power restored right now, we are still seeing outages occur because of ice accumulation on trees. It’s important to know this is an ongoing event and outages may continue due to current conditions or worsen as additional severe weather moves into the area."
Austin Energy officials said they are working around the clock to ensure restoration to services, as needed. Jackson told the media that the recurring outages are likely to continue as the bad weather persists. Jackson asked consumers to conserve energy to help Austin Energy reduce peak demand.
Jackson said Austin Energy has crews staying overnight "in certain areas close to the response centers" as preparation for potential outages. Jackson said Austin Energy will work with ERCOT in terms of handling the "worst-case scenario."
"We work closely with ERCOT ... ERCOT handles a lot of the worst-case scenario planning. We do take directives from them. We have an operation center that operates 24 hours overlooking the system. We do have intelligence of what our power system is operating and where our vulnerabilities are. We have the ability to switch circuits," Jackson said. "We have the ability to coordinate, as I mentioned with ERCOT ... these are all key considerations. But please be assured there's many eyes on the ball, many reliability coordinators, reliability personnel, engineers, technicians that are looking at the situation and making evaluations and looking at system stability at any given minute."
For those who experience longer outages, Austin Energy said lights, electronics and thermostats left on prior to the issue can cause a circuit overload when power is eventually restored. This is known as "cold load pickup" and could cause a second outage on that circuit. This can be prevented by:
- Lowering your thermostat
- Turning off or unplugging any fixtures or appliances
- Only leaving on one light to indicate when the power is back on
Extreme weather across Texas could also lead to additional measures needed to ensure sufficient power generation capacity. The Electric Reliability County of Texas (ERCOT) on Sunday also issued a conservation appeal.
Austin Energy has a page dedicated to winter savings tips and information here for those looking for ways to stay warm and conserve energy.
"Austin Energy is closely monitoring our system and evaluating existing and approaching storm conditions while mobilizing resources, personnel and equipment," Austin Energy said. "While we can’t control Mother Nature, we are prepared to dispatch all of our crews and resources to restore power."
For more information about Austin Energy’s current outages, visit the Austin Energy Outage Map and enter your address into the search bar at the top of the page. For questions or to report an outage, 512-322-9100.
PEOPLE ARE ALSO READING: