AUSTIN (KXAN) — Austin Energy provided updates during a press briefing Sunday about ongoing weather-related outages in the Austin area.
“We will continue to face challenges today and into tomorrow as encroaching weather is likely to cause and contribute to further customer outages,” explained Sidney Jackson, Chief Operating Officer for Austin Energy during the briefing.
Jackson said while Austin Energy has been able to “substantially improve customer outage counts” compared to 24 hours ago, not all of the outages have been resolved and the potential for more weather-related outages remain. He said as of 9 a.m. Sunday, 450 Austin Energy customers were without power, most of those had lost power due to one particular event. As of noon Sunday, Jackson said 131 Austin Energy customers were without service.
“We are actively and vigorously working to restore [power] to those customers as well,” he said.
Austin Energy said it is preparing for “another wave of bad weather approaching.” Jackson said Austin Energy is working with ERCOT to comply with state grid oversight directives. Consequently, Austin Energy is encouraging voluntary energy conservation from Austin Energy customers such as:
- Reducing thermostats
- Avoid using large appliances
- Consider turning off nonessential lighting
- For customers who use larger amounts of energy: consider shutting down or reducing your non-essential production processes.
Additionally, Austin Energy is advising the public to keep their phones charged and to reach out to loved ones to let them know about their status in case they wind up being impacted by outages.
Austin Energy said it is ready to execute rolling outages if needed. But Austin Energy said that would only happen if Austin Energy gets a directive from ERCOT to do so.
The best way for customers to report outages is the Austin Energy website, Jackson said.
In preparation, the department is working with neighboring utility providers. Austin Energy said it has dispatched some crews in advance to check on “known vulnerable areas.”
Additionally, Austin Energy said it is working with neighboring hotels and having some employees sleep in Austin Energy facilities as needed to avoid being held up due to icy conditions on the road.
Thousands of Austin metro area electric customers have experienced outages over the past few days, as winter storms descend on Central Texas.
A Winter Storm Warning issued by the National Weather Service continues in the Austin metro area through noon Monday at least. A dangerous period of icing and sleet began Saturday and continues Sunday, before snow likely accumulates across the area late Sunday night.