Nathan Bernier

Host, All Things Considered

Nathan Bernier a KUT reporter and the local host during All Things Considered and Marketplace. He grew up in the small mountain town of Nelson, BC, Canada, and worked at commercial news radio stations in Ottawa, Montreal and Boston before starting at KUT in 2008. 

Nathan has won numerous journalism awards including a National Edward R. Murrow Award, Texas Associated Press Awards, Lonestar Awards from the Houston Press Club, and various other awards and recognitions.  Nathan's hobbies outside work include producing music and enjoying Austin's many food and drink establishments.

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cold weather
12:47 pm
Thu February 3, 2011

State Regulator Declares End To Power Emergency

The dark clouds of yesterday's power emergency are clearing, ERCOT says, but winter weather is still expected to cause some travel delays.
Nasha Lee, KUT News

The rolling power outages are over, but the state's energy regulator would still like for you to conserve electricity.  The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) says it is ending the emergency procedures it put in place early yesterday mornin

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cold weather
12:28 pm
Thu February 3, 2011

Forecast Now Calls For One Inch Of Snow Or Less

Photo of National Weather Service map

An updated forecast from the National Weather Service suggests the snowfall may be so light that it melts as soon as it touches the ground.

SNOWFALL TOTALS OF A DUSTING TO AROUND ONE INCH ARE FORECAST OVER THE EASTERN HILL COUNTRY AND AREAS ALONG THE I-35 CORRIDOR.

You certainly shouldn't expect to be doing this.

cold weather
11:57 am
Thu February 3, 2011

Austin Has One Snow Truck For Every 47,000 Residents

A dump truck outfitted with a sanding device in 2009. The city has 15 trucks ready to clear the city if it snows tonight.
Photo by Nathan Bernier for KUT News

An ice or snow storm that wouldn't even slow a northeastern city can cripple Austin, as it did in 2007. Our highway overpasses stretch into the sky, making them easily ice over when temperatures drop. And because it snows so infrequently, we don't have a legion of trucks ready to clear the streets.

"We have three sand trucks on standby right now, with another twelve available, if necessary," City of Austin spokesman David Matustik told KUT News.  That amounts to about one truck for every 47,000 Austin residents.

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COLD WEATHER
5:45 pm
Wed February 2, 2011

Texas Grid Still 5,000 Megawatts Short, More Rolling Outages Possible Tonight And Tomorrow

The cold weather that has people bundling up on the University of Texas campus could prompt more rolling power outages tonight and tomorrow.
Photo by Liang Shi for KUT News

The periodic power outages mandated by the state's power grid operator could continue this evening and tomorrow.

"The grid continues to have more than 5,000 megawatts of generation out of service due to the effect of the extreme cold," the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) said in a statement.

Fifty power generation units across the state stopped working overnight, ERCOT said, leading to an initial 7,000 megawatt loss of generation capacity. ERCOT said it was prohibited by market regulations from revealing which power plants they were.

Mayor Lee Leffingwell stressed at a late afternoon news conference today that Austin Energy was not among them.

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cold weather
3:32 pm
Wed February 2, 2011

How Are You Dealing With The Cold?


KUT News sent out interns Mario Carrillo and Liang Shi to ask people how they're dealing with the frigid winter weather. Let us know how you're coping in the comments section!

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
12:37 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
12:01 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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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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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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Austin
4:24 pm
Mon January 31, 2011

Egyptian ACC Professor Watching Unrest With Concern And Hope

Protestors on the streets of Cairo
Image courtesy Al Jazeera English http://www.flickr.com/photos/aljazeeraenglish/

Egyptian cities are bracing for major protests Tuesday as revolutionaries demand the ouster of that country's longstanding military dictatorship.  KUT News has been speaking with Egyptians in Austin since the turmoil began. Today, we spoke by telephone with Austin Community College professor Roy Casagranda. He grew up in Egypt and still has family in Cairo.

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