AUSTIN (KXAN) — Texas power providers and the council that manages power flow in the state are facing national criticism after thousands of customers in the Austin area spent hours without power during this historic winter storm.
Area providers Austin Energy, Oncor and the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, or ERCOT, trended nationally on Twitter, with many critical of the preparations and response to the unprecedented weather conditions.
The planned blackouts did not go as planned. Instead of being rolling blackouts, the outages have lasted hours.
“My understanding is that the blackouts are because of that concept, that it was to be a rolling blackout,” Travis County Judge Andy Brown told KXAN. Brown did the live interview from his car to stay warm because the power had gone out in his home.
“That’s what they did in my neighborhood. And then the power situation was so grave at the state level that they weren’t able to follow through on that plan for some reason and they weren’t able to turn some of the power back on in the way they had anticipated.”
KXAN viewers say they have also tried unsuccessfully to reach the utility companies.
“I’m one of those without power. Has been out since 2 am. Inside my house it’s 53 degrees,” said viewer Kristina Sanchez, who lives in South Austin.
“We were without power for 26 hours yesterday, had it back for 2 hours, off for more than an hour and then back on for overnight,” added viewer Stephanie Koller, who lives in northwest Austin. “The power has now been off since 10am today with zero communication from Austin Energy regarding what the problem(s) is(are) and how long it might possibly take to restore power.”
KXAN has attempted to remain in contact with area energy providers but we’ve been unable to receive the latest information as crews respond to outages beyond just checking their outage map.
Just before 4 p.m. Monday, Abbott tweeted the Public Utilities Commission tells him 500,000 residential customers are having power restored at this time. He expects more positive news this evening.