87% of Austin Energy customers now have power, more than 64K still without

Temperatures have remained below freezing throughout the blackouts in Austin. (Christopher Neely/Community Impact Newspaper)
Temperatures have remained below freezing throughout the blackouts in Austin. (Christopher Neely/Community Impact Newspaper)

Temperatures have remained below freezing throughout the blackouts in Austin. (Christopher Neely/Community Impact Newspaper)

As of Feb. 18, about 87% of Austin Energy customers have power, a number that has continued to climb through the morning as the state’s electric grid operator has allowed utilities to bring people back online after days without power. About 64,000 Austin Energy customers remain without power, according to PowerOutage.US, an independent power tracker during disasters.

Austin Energy, in a press release, said there is still no time estimate for “full restoration,” and outages would remain until the emergency energy has been resolved. Check here for Austin Energy's outage map.

The grid operator, Energy Reliability Council of Texas, announced Feb. 18 that it made “significant progress” overnight bringing power back throughout the state. Earlier in the morning, 77,000 Austin Energy customers remained without power; 20 minutes later, that number dropped to about 64,000 and has fluctuated between 64,000 and 62,000 as of 9:46 a.m.

Dan Woodfin, ERCOT senior director of system operations, said utilities were clear to bring back customers taken off the grid during the state’s emergency load shedding from earlier this week. At its peak, more than 177,000 Austin Energy customers were without power in outdoor temperatures that remained well below freezing.

ERCOT said as of Feb. 18, those without power “likely” fell into one of three categories:

  • The outage is due to local ice storm damage.

  • They are connected to a circuit that needs to be manually brought back online by local crews.

  • They are a large industrial facility that voluntarily shut down during the emergency.

In a Feb. 18 press release, Austin Energy said it was working to restore power to as many customers as quickly as possible and that those who have been without power the longest would be prioritized. The utility continued to urge those with power to continue conserving power by lowering thermostats, unplugging unused appliances and keeping as many lights off as possible.

All of Austin remains under a boil water notice, which went into effect Feb. 17 after the city’s Ullrich Water Treatment Plant lost power and water pressure dropped below minimum standards.

Austin is expected to get another round of winter precipitation through Thursday. Temperatures are expected to remain at or below freezing until Friday.
By Christopher Neely
Christopher Neely is Community Impact's Austin City Hall reporter. A New Jersey native, Christopher moved to Austin in 2016 following years of community reporting along the Jersey Shore. His bylines have appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Baltimore Sun, USA Today and several other local outlets along the east coast.


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