Types of Outages

Why You May Lose Power

It’s never ideal or convenient for the power to go out, but when it does, it can be helpful to understand why and what to expect. Regardless of the type of outage you experience, Austin Energy crews will work hard to safely restore power.   

During an outage, follow these helpful tips to stay safe and informed.  

There are three types of power outages you could experience at your home or business: Planned, Unplanned, and Statewide Grid Events. 

Planned Outages

Planned outages are necessary to perform maintenance and repairs on electric infrastructure and equipment. Planned outages are also utilized for some scheduled tree pruning. 

Austin Energy will notify customers at least 48 hours in advance of any planned outages.

Austin Energy will also check five days prior to verify if any Medically Vulnerable customers are affected and will work with our Customer Assistance Program group to ensure those customers have emergency plans in place for planned outages. 

When outages are planned, you can expect to receive one or more of the following notifications in advance of the outage: 

  • A door hanger 
  • A letter 

Unplanned Outages

Unplanned outages can have many causes — severe weather, motor vehicle crashes, vegetation, animals, construction accidents or equipment failure. When an unplanned outage occurs, multiple crews and first responders may be involved to ensure everyone works safely to de-energize the scene and make needed repairs. 

Depending on the cause, some outages may take more time to repair than others. 

Unplanned outages, along with hazardous areas to avoid, are tracked on the Austin Energy Outage Map.  

Statewide Grid Events

Statewide grid events — sometimes known as controlled outages or load shed events — are managed by the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT).   

When the demand on the grid is too high and supply can’t keep up, ERCOT may find it necessary to balance the energy load by requiring utilities to “shed load,” which can take the form of controlled outages. This type of demand reduction is used as a last resort to preserve the reliability of the electric system as a whole. The outage duration will depend on grid conditions and ERCOT direction.

These outages should be brief in duration but can last longer depending upon the amount of generation being delivered to the grid and other conditions affecting the grid statewide. During this time, Austin Energy will seek to rotate outages to the extent possible, but the utility’s ability to do so depends on the severity of the emergency conditions.

Statewide grid events are not labeled as such on the Austin Energy outage map, but they do show up as outages. During these types of outages, Austin Energy will post alerts and status on the map, as well as posting current status and information on the Austin Energy website and social media accounts.

Learn More

Date last reviewed or modified: 1/7/22

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