‘It is outrageous what has happened to us’: Thousands in Gillespie County are still waiting for power

Hill Country

GILLESPIE COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) — Nearly 4,000 people are still waiting for power in Gillespie County.

Some of them say they have been in the dark for more than a week now and don’t know when it’ll end.

“It’s pretty bad,” said Deborah Hill Russell, who lost power last Saturday.

She says the first few days were manageable, but when she hit the one week mark over the weekend: “I was running out of fuel, I was running out of fire wood, and I was running out of water,” she said.

Hill Russell says her friends in Fredericksburg have been her saving grace, bringing her essentials.

“We have no idea as to how soon we’ll get power,” she said.

The Central Texas Electric Co-op did not respond to KXAN’s calls or emails, but in its last update posted Sunday morning the company says it can’t give customers an estimated time of restoration “because of the amount of damage to infrastructure.”

The company also added it’s bringing in crews from other companies to help, but those extra bodies aren’t expected to arrive until “at least next week.”

“I’m alone right now; I’m a widow so I had to deal with all of this myself,” said Hill Russell.

“It is outrageous what has happened to us,” said Lane Hutchins, who also lives in Gillespie County.

She finally got power back overnight Monday, after huddling without it in her living room for about six days.

“I was burning twigs I was picking up out of the yard, and it was a very serious situation,” Hutchins said.

She considers herself one of the lucky ones.

“I have two friends down the road at Goat Springs Ranch who have not had power since last weekend,” she said.

Getting her power back isn’t the end of the winter storms for her.

“I’m no expert on power, but I know when I don’t have it, and I know when I do have it, and I’m just mad as hell, to tell you the truth,” Hutchins said. “I think that ERCOT is extremely negligent, I think CenTex — and I’m going to lay it out here — if they want to cut my power off after I say that, go ahead. I think they are negligent.”

She and Hill Russell want change, even after all the lights are back on.

“The state legislature has got to step up and do something and improve the situation, so we’re not in this predicament again,” said Hill Russell.

Gillespie is one of the counties approved for federal emergency aid, which can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs. Here’s how to apply.

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