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Updated: Tuesday, 26 Feb 2013, 10:32 PM CST
Published : Monday, 25 Feb 2013, 8:48 PM CST
AUSTIN (KXAN) - Power outages continued to be reported on Tuesday and some 700 Austin Energy customers were still without power.
At 5 p.m., Austin Energy spokesman Ed Clark said repairs were needed at an estimated 176 locations.
Monday's high winds are requiring crews to complete a lot of tree trimming and infrastructure repairs.
Austin Energy has 35 repair crews in service, including contract crews. These crews will work non-stop until power has been restored to all customers.
Any customers who have not reported outages should report their outage by calling 512-322-9100.
High winds leave thousands without power on Monday
Thousands of people in and around Austin were without power following strong winds that pushed through the region Monday.
Since Monday, crews have made repairs at more than 400 spots, where an estimated 30 percent of those locations have needed tree-trimming. In addition, crews have replaced or had to adjust more than two dozen poles, and power lines were downed in more than 30 locations.
Austin Energy spokesman Ed Clark said about half of the Austin Energy system is located at the back of property lines, rather than at the street. That means crews can't use bucket trucks, instead having to carry in equipment, climb trees for trimming and climb poles for repairs.
In turn, that increases the amount of time to make those repairs.
Some 1,600 people were in the dark Tuesday morning after high winds knocked out power to around 18,000 people earlier on Monday.
While the outages are widely scattered, there are no outages that span a large area. Austin Energy crews estimate repairs are needed at more than 100 spots.
Officials said tree limbs on power lines are the most common culprit of the outages. In addition, the number of customers affected may increase as they wake up and discover they don't have any power.
Power outages should always be reported by calling 512-322-9100.
"That telephone number is the fastest way to get your outage communicated," said Clark. "And all customers experiencing an outage are encouraged to call.
"This puts more addresses into the outage system which helps the system better identify the piece of equipment of power line that has a problem. Austin Energy crews will work nonstop until power has been restored to all customers."
As high winds continued through the evening hours, the number of affected customers increased. Austin Energy at 9:30 p.m. Monday still had 8,000 customers without power, up from 5,000 people at 6 p.m.
The largest outages reported at 9:30 p.m. were in the East Riverside and Crossing Place area. The outage affected about 700 customers.
According to Austin Energy, in many instances, tree trimming is required before repairs can be made. The company has 18 repair crews and almost a dozen tree trimming crews in service. The crews are working non-stop and will continue to do so until power is restored to all customers.
Crews are being slowed down by having to climb trees and power poles to complete the restoration of power.
Austin Energy reports almost half of their system is located in the backs of lots rather than at the street, which prevents the use of bucket trucks.
At 8:25 p.m., the Pedernales Electric Cooperative serving the Blanco, Wimberley and Buda areas were reporting power had been restored to all but 160 customers, according to PEC communications manager Anne Harvey.
About 10,000 PEC customers were without power earlier in the day.
Winds in and around Austin caused a variety of headaches, including power outages.
An estimated 18,000 Austin Energy customers were without power because of the strong winds, said spokesman Ed Clark. He said winds caused the downing of trees, power lines and even a few power poles.
By 6 p.m., the number of Austin customers without power was down to about 5,000.
The largest outages affected about 1,860 customers in the West Howard Lane/Wells Branch area. In the area around Red River and 26th Street, more than 1,000 were without power. In the North Lamar and Airport Boulevard area, 1,000 customers were also affected by the outage.
"Repairs to those areas are currently projected to be completed by mid-evening at the latest barring any additional difficulties due to windy conditions, which continue," AE said.
The city-owned utility estimated that repairs are needed at about 150 locations.
Power outages also forced all activities scheduled to take place at Austin school district's Burger Stadium and Nelson Field to be canceled on Monday.
As the afternoon rush hour approached, the city of Austin's traffic department put out word that the signals at some 13 intersections were malfunctioning.
"The Transportation Department will work with the Police Department to provide traffic control if necessary, " the department said. "Most signals have back-up generators that will provide service for up to six hours. After six hours the signal will begin flashing and function similar to a stop sign. Residents are asked to call 3-1-1 to report any signal outages."
Meanwhile as many as 3,000 customers in the Pedernales Electric Cooperative in the Blanco, Wimberley, Buda areas were without power on Monday. Co-op spokeswoman Anne Harvey said it appeared the wind was playing havoc with power lines. By about 3:30 a.m., power was restored to the northern section of Blanco and to Buda.
Crews were working to restore power in the rest of the region, Harvey said.
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