Winter Power Outage Update – Feb. 2, 2023, 4 p.m.

February 2, 2023

While weather conditions have greatly improved, Austin Energy has determined we are unable to provide a specific system-wide restoration estimate. Based on what we knew at the time, we felt fairly confident with our initial estimate of restoration. However, more ice than anticipated occurred as a result of this storm. On-site inspections performed across the city have revealed the full extent of damage. Additionally, the majority of the outages from this winter storm are complex involving heavy construction equipment in areas that are sometimes impassable due to downed trees and branches. As an added challenge, we’re also continuing to experience repeated outages meaning ice, trees and tree limbs continue to knock out power to the same circuits crews just restored. Many of the issues include damages to equipment on the homeowner side. Some customers may need to hire licensed electricians to make those repairs before Austin Energy can safely restore power to their home. Crews are also being extra careful to avoid sheets of ice, icicles and tree branches that may snap back as they thaw. As a result, full restoration will take longer than initially anticipated.

When power is restored, circuits can become overloaded because of lights, electronics and thermostats left on prior to the outage. This is called cold load pickup and it may cause a second outage. Customers currently without power can help us avoid cold load pickup by:

  • Turning off their thermostats.
  • Turning off or unplugging any fixtures or appliances.
  • Only leaving on one light to indicate when the power is back on.

We understand this makes an already challenging situation even more difficult. We have 100+ crews and more headed to our area in the coming hours to turn the power back on. We are grateful for the assistance of neighboring utilities who are providing much needed assistance. We appreciate the patience of our customers as our lineworkers brave these conditions and work with the rest of our staff to restore power.