- Millions still don’t have power in Texas, and Austin power providers have said outages will continue.
- Austin Energy said that outages will likely extend into Wednesday.
- The privately owned Electric Reliability Council of Texas has not provided a clear timeline either.
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Energy utility services across major cities in Texas, like Austin and Houston, have told residents to prepare for at least another night of power outages.
In Austin, the public energy utility service tweeted that the outages, now in their second day amid snowstorm Uri and freezing temperatures in the state, will extend into Wednesday.
The announcement came Tuesday as the state’s privately owned Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) told legislators that power grid operators currently can’t predict when outages might end.
On Tuesday, ERCOT also asked Austin Energy to shed more power and shut off more facilities, according to KXAN.
Local officials have pushed back, saying that shedding more power could mean that hospitals and other medical facilities could also go dark.
Power companies shed power by selectively turning off the power supply for groups of customers if the entire power grid is at risk, which has been at play in Texas during this weather crisis.
“While ERCOT says conditions are improving, we want customers to know this is a dynamic situation and conditions are changing throughout the day. Customers should be prepared to not have power through Tuesday night and possibly longer,” Austin Energy tweeted.
EMERGENCY OUTAGE UPDATE at 12:30 p.m.:
While @ERCOT_ISO says conditions are improving, we want customers to know this a dynamic situation + conditions are changing throughout the day.
⚡Customers should be prepared to not have power through Tuesday night and possibly longer. 1/4
— Austin Energy (@austinenergy) February 16, 2021
Bluebonnet Electric Cooperative, another service provider, told KXAN that electrical generation capacity was improving in areas of Austin.
“Electric generation capacity in ERCOT’s region is improving today, and more wind and solar power will be available. Power plants that were offline or operating at reduced capacity yesterday are coming online or increasing their production,” Bluebonnet said in a statement.
According to the Austin American Statesman, 43% of Austin residents are still without power.
At least two people have died due to the extreme weather and Texas, and millions are still without power.
Austin Energy sent a memo to customers on Sunday telling them to expect rotating 10- to 30-minute outages, while some customers have been without power for more than 30 hours, according to the Statesman.
Austin Mayor Steve Adler and Texas Governor Greg Abbott have directed their criticisms towards ERCOT.
Adler said that “ERCOT has to explain how millions of Texans are without power. Rolling outages are not that. There have to be systemic changes. This is happening every 10 years, and there’s got to be a better plan.”
Abbott has called ERCOT “anything but reliable” and has called their actions “unacceptable.”
Some Houston power providers have made announcements about when customers can expect outages to end.
Fort Bend County Judge K.P. George tweeted, “I am as frustrated as you are.”
I am as frustrated as you are. CenterPoint is now saying Houston area customers need to be prepared without power potentially for several more days as we experience continually cold and icy temperatures.
— County Judge KP George (@JudgeKPGeorge) February 16, 2021
On Tuesday, George said in a Facebook Live update that 60% of residents in Fort Bend County, which encompasses part of Houston, are still living with no power.