February 4, 2023
Austin Energy and other utility teams made significant progress overnight in restoring power to affected customers. From 5 p.m. m. Power was restored to nearly 51,000 customers Friday, bringing the total to 256,307 customers since the start of this historic weather event.
This advance was made possible in large part because fewer trees and branches fell on power lines as temperatures rose. However, as teams continue to work, the process of recovering from an outage becomes even more complex. It can take several days to restore power to a single circuit. This is because the equipment may be in hard-to-reach areas, such as a green belt, or buried under extremely heavy debris. An example of this is a 500-foot steel communications tower that collapsed onto a three-phase distribution line, four cable ducts, and five utility poles. The repair of this page alone takes several days.
At Austin Energy and neighboring utilities, about 400 workers, arborists and other employees are working around the clock to get customers back online. Austin Energy appreciates the support of neighboring utilities, including New Braunfels Utilities, CenterPoint Energy, Bird Electric, Renegade, and CPS Energy.
Local residents driving on the streets of Austin should remember to slow down and go to a utility company that is working on site to restore power. Further:https://youtu.be/k20e4hfBIm0.
In addition, crews may be knocking on residents' doors to gain access to Austin Energy equipment, as Austin Energy personnel are clearly identified with badges and in Austin Energy vehicles. Residents are encouraged to work with them to provide access as needed.
As crews work to restore power, circuits can be overloaded by appliances, electronics, thermostats, pool pumps, pool heaters and vehicle chargers that were on before the outage. This is called cold load pickup and can cause a second failure.
Customers who currently have no power can help prevent cold load buildup by:
- Turn off your thermostats.
- Turn off or unplug all appliances or devices.
- Leave only one light on to indicate when power is restored.
Austin's water and wastewater treatment facilities were not affected by this winter weather event and the water treatment facilities continue to achieve expected production rates. The water supplies in the distribution system remain healthy. Austin Water continues to work closely with Austin Energy to restore power to pumps and pump stations in our service area.
Crews continue to work to restore power to two small potable water pump stations. Approximately 40 customers in the Glenlake Subdivision and Mount Larson area were affected. Austin Water stayed in touch with these customers regarding their additional bottled water needs. These were isolated events that did not result in a citywide boil water warning.
Austin Water continues to urge its customers to conserve water. This helps reduce demand on the system while dealing with intermittent power outages. When the weather warms up and you return to your normal activities, relax with the use of water.
As of this morning, 74 traffic lights remain off due to power outages. Austin Transportation Department (ATD) crews are working on site to get the dim lights back on when power is restored and will continue their work until the lights are fully operational. ATD crews have restored 187 signals since Monday, January 30.
Due to ongoing power outages, around 35% of the city's 1,100+ traffic lights are unable to communicate with ATD's mobility management center, meaning ATD needed boots on the ground to manually verify that signals they worked. The 413 out of communication signals were reviewed to determine if they were off, blinking, or active. Treat dark or flashing signs like bus stops.
- The Central Texas Food Bank is hosting two special food drives today to help Austin area residents experiencing power outages:
9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.: Onion Creek Soccer Complex, 5600 E William Cannon Dr.
13:30 a 15:30 horas: Nelson Field, 7105 Berkman Drive
Alternatively, anyone in need of groceries can access the Food Bank's resources athttp://centraltexasfoodbank.org/findfood
- Red Cross: Residents can call 1-800-RED-CROSS to request assistance if they are affected by a disaster. For more information, seeCentral Texas Red Cross help page.
Storm debris handling and repair
Fallen Tree Limbs: Call 3-1-1 to request a collection of fallen tree limbs caused by the storm. Have the limbs ready curbside for the customer to pick up for free. Austin Resource Recovery (ARR) crews are working tirelessly to collect storm debris and have enlisted the help of three contract crews who will work with the city team to expedite the collection of storm debris materials. Since the damage is spread throughout the city, it will take a while to collect.Here are some guidelinesproperly placed for storm debris and collected as quickly as possible.
Normally, the ARR will collect the contents of your Green Cart and up to 15 additional items placed on the side of the cart, but item restrictions are temporarily waived for Storm Debris collection.
Residents with physical limitations or financial need who need help cleaning up winter storm debris can apply for volunteer assistance through the Austin Disaster Relief Network. Complete this form:link.adrn.org/ws-cleanup-request.
The City's Development Services Department will work retrospectively with homeowners, business owners and contractors to approve and inspect emergency repairs to ensure the work is completed safely. In this way, the repair can be started quickly.Learn more about emergency repairs and permits here
Press Conference 15:00 today
The City of Austin will hold a press conference on Saturday, February 4 at 3:00 p.m. m. at City Hall to provide operational updates on how to respond to winter weather. More informationHERE.
speaking of aoperational updateAustin City Manager Spencer Cronk told the media last night, "We still have a lot of work to do as we continue to recover and help residents affected by the storm, and that work includes evaluating our response to those storms last week. ... and find ways we can do things better in the future."
local disaster declarations
Austin Mayor Kirk Watson and Travis County Judge Andy Brown signed local disaster declarations yesterday for this week's winter storm. This is the first step in the process of seeking state and federal support for community response and recovery. The City of Austin statement, authenticated by the City Clerk, is available for your inspection.HERE.
- Although now the weather is getting warmer and the streets are beginning to clear, there are still some dangers due to downed power lines. The trees have weakened and may continue to fall, people must be aware of their surroundings.
- Food safety during power outages. Refrigerated or frozen foods may not be safe to eat after a power loss. Find out what you can do to keep food safe during a power outage and when to throw away food that could make you sick. More information:https://www.cdc.gov/foodsafety/food-safety-durante-un-apagón.html. Autin Resource Recovery customers can dispose of spoiled food by placing it in their green compost truck to collect and recycle glass, plastic and metal containers. Throw all plastic wrap, waxed paper, and Styrofoam in the trash.