Winter Weather Update

February 1, 2023

Icy power linesAustin Energy Continuing to Restore Power with Major Restoration Efforts Expected through Friday

Due to challenging icing conditions, Austin Energy is reporting that power may be out in some areas until Friday. This situation is fluid and we expect that there will be more icing through tonight that could impact restoration activities. Impacted customers may wish to seek alternative accommodations until their power is restored.

City of Austin and Austin Energy have pulled all attention and resources to address outages stemming from one of the worst ice storms to hit Austin in years. Since the storm began early Wednesday morning, Austin Energy has restored more than 72,000 customers. However, restoration efforts have been slow due to consistently freezing temperatures and accumulating ice.

Austin Energy has experienced repeated outages in some affected areas as trees and branches continue to topple power lines, leading to additional outages. In some cases, entire trees have been uprooted from the weight of the ice. Our crews are reporting that many homes’ individual service wire has been pulled down by falling trees. We are also experiencing frozen switches designed to stop the flow of power on a line in the event of a fault. Reclosing these switches after other repairs have been made becomes a challenging manual process when they are frozen.

Due to the high number of customers trying to report power outages, Austin Energy’s system currently isn’t allowing some people to submit through their outage map or by text. If you see a large outage on the map near your home, Austin Energy is more than likely already aware that your house is without power. Thank you for your patience as we work through the problem. You can still call their outage line at 512-322-9100, but be aware there are long wait times due to the high volume of calls.

Austin Energy crews and contractors are working as swiftly and safely as possible to restore power, but challenging conditions may slow down these efforts. Crews are driving through icy roadways and working with frozen equipment. Based on these changing conditions, it is not possible to provide estimated restoration times. Once AE is able to assess the extent of the damage and the safety of employees and customers, Austin Energy will be able to provide an estimated restoration time. We have 85 crews in service, with an additional 32 crews from other utilities assisting. More crews are on the way. Austin Energy crews are prioritizing power restoration to critical organizations and working on getting the greatest number of customers online in the least amount of time.

Cold Weather Shelters

Tonight, those in need of assistance getting to One Texas Center (for Cold Weather Shelter Registration, or an alternative warm and safe location  can dial 3-1-1 or 512-974-2000 to request transportation. 

If you plan to stay in your home, here are a few tips:

How can I stay warm inside my home while the power is out?

  • Wear several layers of light weight, warm clothing rather than one layer of heavy clothing.
  • Wear hats, mittens, and blankets indoors.
  • Close curtains and cover windows and doors with blankets.
  • Try to stay together in one room, with the door closed, to keep in body heat.

Fire/Carbon Monoxide Safety

During winter weather, the threat posed by carbon monoxide can be greater due to the practice of warming up vehicles inside garages and the use of various heating elements.

  1. Never run a vehicle inside an attached garage, even with open doors.
  2. Turning on the stove for heat is unsafe as is indoor use of generators, gas or charcoal grills, and camp stoves.
  3. If utilizing a space heater, opt for a model with automatic shut-off switches and non-glowing elements. Keep the device uncovered and at least three feet away from flammable materials like curtains or blankets and the cord in a position that is neither a tripping hazard nor under carpets or rugs.
  4. Ensure your fireplace, wood stove or other combustion heater is up to code and the ventilation is adequate.
  5. In the event of a power outage, opt for battery-powered flashlights rather than candles. If candles are your only available source of light, don't leave them unattended.
  6. Prevention is key: protect yourself with a battery-operated carbon monoxide detector in your home.