Austin

Energy
1:01 pm
Thu February 3, 2011

City Says it Can't Give Neighborhoods Advance Notice During Those Rotating Energy Cutoffs

Photo by Callie Hernandez for KUT.

People are being urged to continue conserving energy, as temperatures remain below freezing.  ERCOT, the state's grid operator, says the state's electric emergency situation has ended.  Energy generation reserves are in better shape today than they were yesterday.  Still, folks have a lot of questions about Wednesday's rolling power outages.  Specifically, some KUT listeners thought Austin Energy did a bad job of communicating what was going on Wednesday. 

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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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Energy
6:18 am
Thu February 3, 2011

City: No Power Outages Expected Today, But Just in Case Find Austin Energy's Map Here

Photo courtesy of Miranda Martin/via Flickr

**Update @ 7: 20 a.m.: ERCOT says the state's grid condition is improving but it's still urging people to conserve energy, especially before 9 a.m.  From the press release: "Although immediate concerns for the possibility of rotating outages this morning are reduced, ERCOT will be monitoring the grid closely because additional unexpected major losses of generation could force operators to begin emergency procedures to avoid an uncontrolled statewide blackout."


Earlier:

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News Brief
5:30 am
Thu February 3, 2011

School Delays February 3, 2011

Photo by KUT News.

*updated 7:25 a.m. for weather conditions*

The Austin Independent School District will hold classes as usual at their regular start times .  UT Austin and St. Edwards University will be operating as normal.  All Austin Community College campuses will also be open today and on a regular schedule.  That includes the Rio Grande Campus. ..  .  .  .  .

A wind chill advisory is in effect until 11 a.m.  And a winter weather advisory is in effect from tonight at 6 until Friday at noon.  The cold weather has prompted some Central Texas schools to delay classes Thursday.

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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.

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

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
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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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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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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