cold weather
1:46 pm
Wed February 2, 2011

Austin Energy Says Rolling Outages Are Over...For Now

Ice on the ground on Whitis St. in Austin
Image by Mose Buchele for KUT News

Updated at 5:27 pm: Rolling outages implemented by the state's energy regulator are over, but the state's energy regulator is warning people that emergency outages could return.  About 7,000 megawatts of generating capacity went offline last night due to cold weather. The Energy Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) asked local utilities to draw down their consumption to help distribute the load, leading to rolling power outages across the state.

"ERCOT has issued a notice that rotating outages are no longer needed at this time; however, there is a strong possibility that they will be required again this evening or tomorrow, depending on how quickly the disabled generation units can be returned to service," ERCOT's Dottie Roark said in an email. "Energy conservation is still critical during peak demand hours this evening between 6 and 10 pm. "

Now that rolling outages are over, Austin Energy crews are able to address lingering isolated outages. If your power is still out, call 322-9100.  Here's an Austin Energy map showing power outages across town.

Politics
1:16 pm
Wed February 2, 2011

Statement From Governor Perry On Rolling Power Outages

The Governor speaking at an event last year.
Image by KUT

Gov. Rick Perry's office sent us this statement:

"Because of winter weather conditions that have created an unprecedented demand on the state's energy grid, many Texans across our state are experiencing power outages today," Gov. Perry said. "Texas power and emergency management experts are working very closely with ERCOT and various utility providers to ensure power is restored as quickly as possible. Until that happens, I urge businesses and residents to conserve electricity to minimize the impact of this event."

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Power outages
12:52 pm
Wed February 2, 2011

Cold Weather Causes Rolling Power Outages Across Texas

People shiver in the cold while waiting for the bus on Guadalupe St.
Image by Nathan Bernier for KUT News

Cold weather caused about 50 generators to die across Texas overnight, reducing capacity by 7,000 megawatts and prompting the state agency responsible for managing power to request local utilities institute rolling power outages.

Capacity is slowly coming back online. KUT News is following the latest developments on this story.

Do you have any pictures that show the cold weather or how the power outages have affected you? Please email them to news@kut.org, or tell us your story in the comments below.

cold weather
12:44 pm
Wed February 2, 2011

Some Flight Disruptions at ABIA

Photo by KUT.

Austin-Bergstrom International Airport is seeing some flight delays and cancelations in the midst of the arctic weather impacting much of the U.S.  Several flights have been delayed up to several hours, and at least a few departing flights have been canceled. 

Remember to call your airline or check your flights online before you head to the airport.

cold weather
12:44 pm
Wed February 2, 2011

As Cold Grips Austin, Meals on Wheels Reaches Out to Clients

Ora Lee Clark of Austin admires the gifts she received through Meals on Wheels and More's "Be a Santa to a Senior" program in December.
Matt Largey for KUT News

With Austin in the midst of an uncommon cold spell, and rolling blackouts striking parts of Central Texas, Meals on Wheels and More is calling clients to ensure that they won't be trapped in the cold.

"We'll just call [clients] and ask them how they're doing, how their homes are being affect by the temperatures, if they're feeling OK, if they need anything," Sarah Andrews with Meals on Wheels and More told KUT.

Andrews said that a lot of people receiving food are "elderly" or have "critical health needs."

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cold weather
12:37 pm
Wed February 2, 2011

Texas Power Outages Caused By 7,000 Megawatts Going Offline

Cold weather caused ice to form on this water fountain at the University of Texas at Austin. The frigid temperatures are being blamed for rolling power outages that afflicated Texas throughout the day.
Photo by Liang Shi for KUT News

More than fifty electricity generation units stopped working overnight because of severe weather, reducing capacity by 7,000 megawatts and leading to the rolling power outages across Texas today.

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) has asked utilities and transmission providers like Austin Energy to implement the rolling power outage underway now.

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cold weather
12:17 pm
Wed February 2, 2011

Round Rock ISD Closes One School Due To Power Outage

Several Austin-area schools are closed due to power interruptions.
Photo by Conspirator http://www.flickr.com/photos/conspirator/

Students at Westwood High School in Round Rock have been let out early today, due to the frequency of power outages. 

In a statement, the district said most schools are experiencing some kind of outages, but they were particularly bad at Westwood.

The pattern has been consistent through the morning and in the best interest of the students, the district chose to do an release early. Regular bus services will be made available to students, however; if students wish to remain on campus they may do so since all staff will remain until the end of the day.

cold weather
12:01 pm
Wed February 2, 2011

Hospitals, Clinics Keep Appointments Despite Power Outages

The emergency department at Brackenridge Hospital is up and running.
Nathan Bernier, KUT

Power generators kicked on as they were supposed to at Seton Medical Center Williamson and the Seton Edgar B. Davis Hospital, according to spokesperson Matilda Sanchez. Both hospitals are fully functioning.

Austin Regional Clinic, which operates eighteen clinics across Central Texas, has been affected by the rolling outages but is asking patients to keep their appointments. 

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cold weather
11:26 am
Wed February 2, 2011

Here Is Where You Can Find Information on Power Outages In Austin

Image courtesy Austin Energy

We linked to it in an earlier post, but we want to make it as clear as possible about where to find this information. Austin Energy provides data on power outages through its Customer Outage Portal.

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cold weather
11:13 am
Wed February 2, 2011

20 Of 124 Austin ISD Campuses Without Power At Any Given Time

Linder Elementary in warmer times.
Image by KUT News

Rolling blackouts are affecting schools in the Austin Independent School District, which opted not to cancel classes today. The district currently has no plans to release students early this afternoon.

"Austin ISD, like the rest of the city, is affected by the rolling outages," AISD spokesperson Carmen Luevanos told KUT News. "At any one point, we have approximately 20 campuses that are out [of power]. We have approximately 120 campuses [total]."

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News Brief
5:35 am
Wed February 2, 2011

Top Morning Stories February 2, 2011

Folks on the UT campus this morning are bundled up for the cold weather.
Photo by KUT News.

Statewide Power "Emergency" Means Rolling Power Outages in Austin

You may be wondering why your lights are out this morning.  Austin Energy is doing rotating cut offs.  The state’s power grid operator ERCOT is requiring this.  The state’s power grid couldn’t keep up with demand early this morning because some power plants went offline.  Austin Energy says the lights are expected to be out for about 45 minutes at a time in certain neighborhoods.

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Education
11:31 pm
Tue February 1, 2011

AISD Task Force Won't Name Specific Campuses On Its List Of Closure Options

Image by KUT

No more naming schools names for possible closure. That's the decision of an Austin ISD task force responsible for coming up with options for the district's facilities.

This Facility Master Plan task force began meeting last Spring. It was supposed to develop a list of options for the district to manage its facilities: its schools, its offices, its warehouses, that kind of thing. But the process was quickly interrupted by parents last month who were traumatized when a draft list of options began naming specific schools as facilities that could be closed.

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Austin
5:23 pm
Tue February 1, 2011

Austin Film Festival and Texas Book Festival Come Together in 2011

People listen to Laura Bush speak at the Texas Book Fest in 2010. The Book Festival and the Austin Film Festival will join forces for some events this year.
Photo by KUT News

Aficionados of books and film will have a golden opportunity to meet authors and screenwriters at the same time throughout the year and culminating in a joint festival this fall. The Austin Film Festival (AFF) will run October 20-27 in conjunction with the Texas Book Festival (TBF) October 22-23. Barbara Morgan, Executive Director of the Austin Film Festival, says both nonprofit organizations will benefit writers in the Austin community.

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Education
4:42 pm
Tue February 1, 2011

Education Commissioner Urges Districts To Begin Making Hard Decisions About Cuts

Education Commissioner Robert Scott addressing school administrators at a conference in Austin said they need to start reducing their budgets now to show lawmakers they are willing to cooperate in helping to close the budget gap.
Photo by Nathan Bernier for KUT News

With the state budget leaders proposing to cut as much as $10 billion from public education to help close a state budget gap of between $15 and $27 billion, Education Commissioner Robert Scott warned hundreds of school administrators gathered in Austin this afternoon that Texas is facing the most difficult legislative session for public education in his lifetime.

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Texas
3:02 pm
Tue February 1, 2011

CASA Day at the Capitol

Display at the State Capitol of Texas children who died last year of neglect and abuse.
Photo by Kenn Zuniga for KUT News

Today was CASA Day at the Capitol.  A memorial was also displayed at the Capitol today, showing the names and ages of the Texas children that died of abuse and neglect in 2010.  Funding for CPS workers and services for children in foster care was the most pressing issue at today’s event for the CASA volunteers.

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