Power Outages

Weather
6:55 am
Tue May 27, 2014

Where to Go for Information on Road Closures, Rain Totals and Power Outages

A Flash Flood Watch is in effect until noon today. Scattered to numerous showers and thunderstorms are expected.
National Weather Service

Update: A Flash Flood Watch remains in effect for much of Central Texas until noon.

Original Story (5:44 a.m.): Central Texas is getting some much-needed rain. The numbers and affected areas are changing constantly. So here's a roundup of how to find the latest information for your neighborhood:

1. Road Closures/Low Water Crossing Closures

ATXfloods.com: Current flood information and emergency road closures in the City of Austin, Travis County, Sunset Valley and Cedar Park. Information is automatically updated. Red dots indicate low water crossing closures and the list on the right provides details. Updates are also posted to Twitter.

2. Rain Totals

Some parts of Central Texas have received as much as an inch and a half of rain since midnight – including Llano and Elgin.

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Weather
1:21 pm
Mon December 16, 2013

There’s a Solution to Power Outages During Texas Storms, But You Won’t Like It

Two trees couldn't withstand the storm in this backyard near Lower Greenville in Dallas. They tore apart a fence and damaged a roof and tore down a power line.
Courtesy of Jerome Weeks / KERA News

From StateImpact Texas: 

Against the backdrop of a debate over whether Texas has enough power generation (i.e. power plants) to meet growing demand, two instances of large-scale outages in the past few weeks show a more common vulnerability: power lost to fallen or damaged power lines during storms. Could anything have been done to prevent the outages? The short answer is yes. But chances are you won’t like the full explanation.

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Texas
6:58 am
Tue February 26, 2013

Central Texas Cleaning Up After High Winds (Update)

A downed tree on the UT campus.
Emily Donahue, KUT News

Update (6:58 a.m.): About 1,200 Austin Energy customers remain without power this morning. High winds yesterday broke tree limbs and brought down power lines.

At one point yesterday afternoon, around 18,000 Austin Energy customers were without power.

Right now, Austin Energy repair and tree trimming crews are working to fix harder-to-reach problems. An Austin Energy spokesperson tells KUT News that power should be restored to most customers by early this afternoon.

Customers should report outages by calling (512) 322-9100.

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Austin Energy
11:30 am
Fri December 28, 2012

Power Restored to Most Austin Energy Customers (Update)

Austin Energy crews replacing a damaged pole transformer this morning.
facebook.com/austinenergy

Update: Austin Energy now confirms the number of power pole fires last night was a record. The utility says tree limbs did not contribute to the large number of fires.

Update: Austin Energy says "power has been restored to virtually all customers, and will be restored to any remaining customers by lunchtime."

Austin Energy spokesperson Ed Clark says the utility experienced "probably a record number" of power pole fires, which lead to widespread power outages. And Austin's lack of rain, mixed with heavy overnight misting, is to blame.

Austin Energy writes:

The rash of fires is the result of a lack of rain over a long period of time. Dirt and dust builds up on the small devices (called insulators) that connect power lines to power poles. Misty conditions such as those experienced overnight can cause the dirt and dust to track across the insulator providing a pathway for electricity to move from the power line to the pole. There are about 140,000 power poles throughout the Austin Energy system.

"What the system really needs is a very good rain, a good hard rain to clean off ... the power poles in the Austin Energy system," Clark says.

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Weather
8:28 am
Mon December 10, 2012

Power Outages, Freeze Warning & Wind Advisory for Central Texas

The first big freeze of the season is expected tonight.
Austin/San Antonio National Weather Service

It’s a windy, chilly morning. There’s a wind advisory in effect for all of South Central Texas until noon today. A freeze warning is in place starting at 11 p.m.

The cold weather is moving across Texas, even bringing some snow to the Dallas area this morning.

The wind was a factor in power outages that left more than 3,400 Austin Energy customers in the dark this morning. Austin Energy spokesman Ed Clark says damage to a pole knocked out power to about 2,300 customers around Brodie Lane and William Cannon Drive. Clark expected power to be restored to about 70 percent of those customers by 7:30 a.m.

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Texas
9:04 am
Wed September 26, 2012

ERCOT Board Examines Summer Power Usage, Makes Predictions for Fall

ERCOT predicts no demand problems for fall, winter.
Daniel Reese for KUT News

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) says that though the Texas electric grid saw new monthly peaks in June and July, the overall electric demand fell below last summer’s record-setting numbers. 

At the Board of Directors September meeting yesterday, directors were briefed on the summer’s power grid demand and peaks over the summer and made projections for fall and winter. 

This summer, ERCOT didn’t have to issue any energy emergence alerts (EEA)—which can result in rotating outages in order to prevent a power grid overload and statewide blackout. Last summer, ERCOT issued seven EEAs. Though this summer’s weather was hotter than the state’s 15-year average, it didn’t reach the sweltering levels achieved in 2011, so air conditioner use was somewhat lower.

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AM Update 8/1/12
7:39 am
Wed August 1, 2012

AM Update: New Record For Power Usage, Texas Ex Wins Gold, C-130s to Stay in Texas

The National Guard's C-130s help deal with major emergencies in Texas and along the Gulf Coast.
Filipa Rodrigues/KUT News

New Record Set for July Power Usage

Keeping the A.C. on all day may be a good way to stay cool, but not to help Texas' electric grid.

A new July record was set yesterday when the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) reported that demand on their electric grid peaked at 65,790 megawatts (MW). The previous record was set last July, during one of the hottest summers on record, at 65,432 MW.

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AM Update 7/16/12
7:51 am
Mon July 16, 2012

AM Update: Storm Wrap-Up, Lawmakers on Veterans and Foster Care, Reduced Water Restrictions

Austin received as much as five inches of rain last night, causing flooding, a few road closures, and power outages.
KUT News

Sunday's Storm Affects Austin Roads, Power

As much as four to five inches of rain fell over Austin and Round Rock last night.

About two and a quarter inches were recorded in downtown Austin.

Heavy rains required the Lower Colorado River Authority to open some floodgates at the Tom Miller Dam to keep Lake Austin within its operating range.

About 20 Austin Energy customers remained without power late this morning. At 8 p.m. Sunday, the storm knocked out power to as many as 5,000 Austin Energy customers.

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Environment
3:41 pm
Thu June 7, 2012

ERCOT Predicts No Power Outages This Summer

The scene in the ERCOT control room.
Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

Since its creation in 1970, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) has experienced blackouts (or in its vocabulary, rolling outages,) only three times. With the majority of that burden falling on residential properties, the community has cause for interest – but not concern – according to ERCOT’s leaders.

“We don’t expect this summer to have to resort to rotating outages,” said ERCOT Director of System Planning Warren Lasher. But, he says, “if we have another summer like 2011, the most extreme summer we’ve experienced, then we’re likely to have at least one day in which we start running short on reserves.”

Reserves are generators dedicated to picking up the slack when other generators fail, or when there is a greater electrical demand. ERCOT has enough reserves to generate over 3,000 megawatts (MW). To put that in perspective, one megawatt of electricity can power about 200 Texas homes during the hottest day of the year. Overall, ERCOT has a 74,000 MW capacity.

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Austin Energy
8:52 am
Tue May 8, 2012

Austin Energy: Power Should be Fully Restored by Mid-Morning

Austin Energy crews continue to work to restore power to all customers this morning.
Photo by I-Hwa Cheng for KUT News

Last night's storm caused power outages to around 3,000 Austin Energy customers all over the city. North Central Austin was especially hard hit.

Austin Energy spokesperson Ed Clark says 17 crews worked overnight to restore energy. Six more crews focused just on tree trimming. Clark says fallen tree limbs were a big problem in last night's storm.

Crews made repairs at about 200 locations. Two power poles were toppled and lines fell at a dozen locations. Austin Energy expects power to be back up everywhere by mid-morning.

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Austin
8:28 am
Wed February 15, 2012

Austin Energy Reports Power Outage in Northwest Austin

View Larger Map

Update: Austin Energy reports that power has been restored to the area. The utility writes that the outage was caused by "an electrical equipment malfunction that resulted in a power surge."

Original Post: Nearly 2,000 Austin Energy customers may be affected by a power outage this morning, city-owned utility Austin Energy reports. 

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Texas
2:37 pm
Wed February 16, 2011

Texas Grid Operator Updates List of Plant Failures

ERCOT released an updated list of power plants that failed, leading to rolling blackouts February 2.
Image by KUT News

Officials with the Electric Reliability Council of Texas continue to identify more power plants that went offline during the power emergency that struck the state two weeks ago. Normally, details on plant failures would be confidential for 60 days, because of market rules set up by the Public Utility Commission of Texas.  But ERCOT has asked power generators to agree to a waiver of that period. 

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News Brief
5:16 am
Tue February 15, 2011

Top Morning Stories February 15, 2011

The rotating power outages earlier this month will be under the microscope at the Capitol today.
Photo by Erik Reyna for KUT News.

Texas Senators Investigating Power Outages


Two Senate committees will hear testimony this morning about the state’s power emergency earlier this month that led to rotating power outages. Senators are hoping to get to the bottom of why so many power plants went offline on February 2 and why the state's grid operator was slow to communicate about it.  KUT's Matt Largey has more in his story below.


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Austin
12:42 pm
Fri February 11, 2011

Why Did Your Power Go Out And Theirs Didn't? Austin Energy's Grid Map Of 376 Circuits

A map of the 376 circuits that make up Austin Energy's power grid.
Image from Austin Energy. Map enhanced by Torrie Hardcastle for KUT News

Not all parts of Austin are created equal when it comes to rolling blackouts. 

As you may have heard, the power outages that hit the city on February 2nd left some parts of town in the dark for hours, while other areas were spared completely. 

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Texas
2:02 pm
Thu February 10, 2011

Texas Sets New Power Consumption Record, Power Watch Cancelled

Warm weather is ahead, but patches of ice remain. The cold weather prompted Texans to set a new winter power consumption record, according to ERCOT.
Photo by Nathan Bernier for KUT News

The state's power grid regulator, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), says Texas set a new record for winter peak demand. Between 7 a.m. and 8 a.m., the state was consuming 57,282 megawatts. That's almost 1,000 megawatts higher than the previous record from February 2nd.

At the same time, ERCOT is cancelling its request to consumers to reduce their energy consumption during peak hours.

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Texas
10:50 am
Wed February 9, 2011

Record Electricity Usage Expected In Texas Tomorrow

Photo courtesy of Miranda Martin/via Flickr

The state's electric grid operator, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), says it's expecting to set a winter record for power demand Thursday morning between 7 and 8 a.m. ERCOT is asking people to conserve power to help minimize the risk of rolling blackouts like the ones that swept across Texas last week.

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Texas
3:51 pm
Tue February 8, 2011

ERCOT Asks for Power Conservation Ahead of Cold Front

ERCOT urges Texans to cut back on electricity tonight and tomorrow morning during the peak times.
Image Courtesy Cath in Dorset http://www.flickr.com/photos/cathwalker-hillygroundphotography/

Freezing weather is returning tonight and tomorrow morning. ERCOT, the agency that runs the state's power grid, is asking consumers to cut back on electricity usage, to avoid another round of rolling blackouts. Officials say the peak times for usage are 6:00-9:00 am and 4:00-8:00 pm, and that's when they need the help most.

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Texas
1:39 pm
Mon February 7, 2011

Blackouts Pushed Electricity Prices to the Limit

Photo by Nasha Lee/KUT.

It's been reported that last week's rolling blackouts that left parts of the state in the dark for 15 minutes or more--in some cases, a lot more)--made for sky-high wholesale electric prices.

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cold weather
5:18 pm
Thu February 3, 2011

How To Shut Off The Water To Your Home


The city is urging people to locate the shutoff valve for their water mains in case pipes burst and begin spewing water. City of Austin crews have responded to at least 335 calls for lost water service since Tuesday.

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cold weather
1:05 pm
Thu February 3, 2011

Live Blogging ERCOT News Conference

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas is holding a news conference to discuss yesterday's events. Follow it live here.

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