AUSTIN (KXAN) — “The hardest days may still lie ahead,” as utilities such as Austin Energy work to restore power to customers, General Manager Jacqueline Sargent said Friday. It could take several days for all customers to have their power restored, she said. As of 4 p.m., 20,413 customers don’t have power.
At this point, customers without power in the Austin area don’t have it because of damage from the ice storms this week — not because of ERCOT-mandated outages. ERCOT said earlier Friday the Texas power grid was back to operating as normal. Austin Energy has enough supply and reserves to meet customer demand at this point.
Sargent said the storms caused damage — including trees that damaged lines, icy lines and equipment — but also created challenges for crews to be able to get to issues to fix them. That is Austin Energy’s top priority right now, with all available crews and contract workers working around the clock.
Crews must manually and methodically check each section, identifying and fixing hazards in what Sargent described as a “tedious and time consuming” process.
“Our crews are working very hard,” she said. “They are committed to getting your lights back on.”
Austin Energy doesn’t expect any other weather events will create further disruptions to the power.
Sargent said Austin Energy doesn’t yet have enough information to calculate how this week will affect customers financially. She said it will provide more information later related to bills.