Austin Energy prepared for extreme cold weather; tips for customers to stay warm

February 11, 2021

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Austin Energy is prepared for extreme weather events all year long. With severe cold and possible snow and ice headed to our service area, the utility is ready to respond in the event of power outages. The utility supplies safe, affordable, reliable power to our customers every day, but power outages do occasionally happen. One out of three outages in our area are caused by vegetation and weather. During windy and stormy weather, heavy ice and snow can cause tree limbs to break and sway, rubbing against or hitting power lines. This can cause service fluctuations and widespread outages.

Restoring power is more than just flipping a switch. You may see line workers, forestry crews and trucks in your neighborhood, but employees throughout the utility are also working 24/7 to safely restore power. Our first priority is to keep our crews and customers safe so be aware that weather and other hazards may slow down the power restoration process.

We encourage Austin Energy customers to be prepared for power outages by signing up for our text Outage Alerts and checking our mobile-friendly outage map at Customers can also report outages at 512-322-6100.

Other ways customers can be prepared and stay safe during a winter storm:

  • Keep cellphones charged and backup chargers fully charged.
  • If working or learning at home, save your work periodically and make sure your devices are on power strips. Using a power strip helps protect electronic devices in case of a power outage. Consider using external power sources for your electronics.
  • Assemble a storm preparation kit with flashlights, fresh batteries, snacks, water, and other necessities. Make sure everyone in your home knows where to find it.
  • Keep your refrigerator and freezer doors closed, if possible. Food will stay good up to four hours.
  • Do not drive over or go near a downed power line, it could be energized. Call 311 if you see a downed line to report it. If the line is sparking, call 911.
  • If you see limbs on wires or see downed tree limbs, please call 311 to report them.

Customers can also minimize their impact on the ERCOT (Electric Reliability Council of Texas) electric grid by following these tips to save energy during cold weather:

  • Set your thermostat at 68 degrees or lower in the winter. Wear warm, comfortable clothing to help stay warm indoors instead of adjusting the thermostat.
  • Keep doors and windows closed to minimize hot air from escaping the home.
  • If you have a fireplace, use it to help heat your home instead of turning up the thermostat. When not in use, make sure your fireplace damper is closed to prevent heat from escaping up the chimney.
  • Switch the setting on ceiling fans to run clockwise at a low speed. This gentle updraft helps push warm air near the ceiling down into your living space.
  • Save energy in the kitchen. Give your oven and wallet a break by using the oven light to check on the food instead of opening the door. Use a slow cooker or microwave instead of the oven. Do not use the oven to heat your home.

More information about winter energy savings can be found here.