Austin Energy Prepared for Winter Weather this Holiday Week

December 20, 2022

Austin Energy plans and prepares for extreme weather year-round. With freezing temperatures approaching this week, the utility is monitoring the forecast closely and is ready to respond.

Winter weatherization activities at power plants and transmission facilities are complete. Through these preparations, Austin Energy teams make sure the utility’s power plants and electric transmission equipment are ready for freezing temperatures. This work begins in the fall each year and continues throughout the winter season.

Because this cold weather is coming in ahead of the Christmas holiday weekend, Austin Energy has ensured adequate staffing at facilities, as well as sufficient field crews and contractors available, with personnel on call to respond if necessary.

ERCOT, the electric grid operator for most of Texas, predicts sufficient power generation to meet forecasted customer demand during this cold snap. Widespread power outages are not expected, but localized outages could still occur, especially if Austin receives high winds, as currently forecasted for Thursday. These types of wind gusts always have the potential for downed trees and power lines. If someone sees a downed power line, they should stay at least 30 feet away and call 512-322-9100 to report it immediately.

How customers can prepare

Austin Energy encourages customers to prepare for emergencies or extreme weather at home as well. Winter weather in the Austin area can bring sunshine with cool temps one day and freezing rain the next. In frosty conditions, remember to protect people, pets and plants from the cold and drive safely on slick roads. Visit our website for more information on how to stay safe during cold weather, power outages and how to save energy and water during the winter.

In case of a power outage:

  • Turn off all devices, appliances and HVAC system to avoid overloading circuits when power is restored, leaving only one light on to alert you when restoration occurs.
  • Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed during an outage and follow FDA guidelines for food safety.

Electrical Safety Tips:

  • If using an electric space heater, be sure it has an automatic shut-off switch and non-glowing elements, and make sure to keep away from flammable materials.
  • Never heat your home with a gas oven or burn anything in a stove or a fireplace that is not vented. Do not burn paper in a fireplace.
  • Do not drive over or go near a downed power line, as 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 on wires, please call 311 to report them.

Stay Informed:

Also, for all potential emergencies, remember to:

  • Make a plan
  • Build a kit
  • Know your neighbors
  • Stay informed
Read more from the City of Austin’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management on winter weather preparedness.