How We Restore Power

Our Crews Stay Ready 24/7

Austin Energy has crews on standby 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to respond immediately to outages, and we repair most small, routine outages within a short period of time. In addition to our first responders, we also have heavy construction equipment and crews on call outside of normal business hours to assist in major repairs such as pole and transformer replacements.

Our lineworkers are well-trained and highly skilled. In fact, they’re some of the best in Texas. And they’re your friends and neighbors. Austin Energy is a community-owned utility, and we care about our customers. 

It’s Not Just a Flip of a Switch

Each outage is a complex event. The crews on the scene must locate and assess the cause of the outage and communicate with other crews and the control center, often during changing conditions such as darkness, wind, rain, and flooding.

Watch our video How We Restore Power to learn more about the potential causes of power outages and the steps we take to safely restore power.

Illustration of how we restore power

How We Restore Power

  1. Our first priority is to repair the transmission lines. Until this repair is made, power to your home cannot be restored.
  2. Repair substation equipment. This may include damaged transformers or malfunctioning circuit breakers.
  3. Fix the main distribution lines which carries power from the substation to an overhead (A) or underground (B) transformer near your home. These repairs may include addressing broken poles, bad transformers, open fuses and switches.
  4. Check the service line (C) that carries power from the transformer to your electric meter.

The sequence of repairs can mean that some homes may have power restored while others around them have not.

Download How We Restore Power (pdf)

Multiple Crews Work to Repair Major Outages

Severe weather, tree limbs, vehicle crashes, fires and wildlife can result in power outages. The majority of outages are small.  But power outages caused by major storms or freezing rain may require more crews. It can take multiple repair crews multiple hours to restore power to all customers.

During a major storm, it is not uncommon to have several hundred repair locations — and the crews must drive to each repair location.

We strive to restore power to our customers as safely, quickly and efficiently as possible. This work is often quite hazardous. We place the highest priority on the safety of our crews and our customers. 

We Provide an Estimated Time of Restoration 

Once Austin Energy fully assesses the outage, we provide an estimated time of restoration. Outage conditions will be posted on the Austin Energy Outage Map and texted to customers who have signed up to receive Outage Alerts via their mobile device.

During a large or complex outage event, Austin Energy may suspend providing an estimated time of restoration until damage can be safely assessed.

The Estimated Time of Restoration Can Change

As the situation evolves and the extent of the damage becomes clearer, the estimated time of power restoration can change. We make every effort to arrive at a realistic estimated restoration time based on the availability of our lineworkers, the extent of the damage, and the safety of our employees and customers.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Why did the power come back on in my neighbor’s house, but not mine?

    You may see a neighbor's lights come back on while you are still without power. Sometimes, not all circuits are restored at the same time — as different parts of your neighborhood may be connected to different circuits. Or a restored customer’s service comes directly from a primary line, which is restored first, while your service may be served off a secondary line. There may also be a problem with your individual service line or your meter.

  • Why did an Austin Energy truck leave my neighborhood before my power was restored?

    If you see a utility truck leave your neighborhood and your power has not yet been restored, it may be because multiple crews work on different aspects of a problem. For example, there may be repairs required at different locations. Also, smaller crews may leave without restoring power if the problem is so large that more workers are needed to fix the issue. You may also see a crew leaving your neighborhood because they must check or “patrol” a long section of the power line — one that may stretch out to another neighborhood — before restoring power.  

    We make every effort to update our estimated time of restoration to reflect the up-to-the-minute status of the outage.

  • How does Austin Energy decide whose power is turned on first?

    We first restore power to customers who provide essential services to the community, such as hospitals, police stations, and fire departments. Then we repair damage that will return power to the greatest number of customers in the least amount of time until power is restored to everyone. Above all, safety is our top priority when making power restoration decisions.

Expand All
Date last reviewed or modified: 02/03/2023