There are now four warming centers operating in Williamson County for those who are experiencing prolonged power outages. The centers are open 24 hours but are not long-term solutions and do not accommodate overnight stays.
Williamson County, like the entire state of Texas, continues to deal with rolling blackouts, but county Judge Bill Gravell wants to remind residents the county does not have any control over water or electric utilities.
“Let me be clear, Williamson County does not control the power,” Gravell said in an interview with Community Impact Newspaper.
Gravell said that about 40% of the county is without power. While he said he believes the number of customers impacted by the blackouts will decrease over the next few days, the county will continue to face rolling blackouts for at least the next two to three days.
“I think this is going to be a matter of days,” Gravell said. “We're going to have to be patient and work together to get through this difficult time.”
Gravell said the county is working with area cities on the back end to help bolster services where it can, including the opening of recharging stations throughout the county for those who need to recharge oxygen equipment.
Gravell added that while officials are in discussions with opening warming centers for those without power, it has been difficult to secure a location that they know will not suffer from outages as well.
“We don't quite have a location yet where we can put someone in [and] assure that there's electricity and more importantly, heat at that facility,” Gravell said. “It's a pretty complicated question, but we're working with our cities to take those steps if possible.”
Gravell said that in 12 months, the county and Texas has survived the start of a pandemic, a turbulent political season and it, too, will survive this.
“I know folks are just exhausted with where we're at, but we're Texans,” Gravell said. “We got this. We just need to pull up, take care of ourselves, take care of our family and take care of our neighbors because that's what sets us apart.”
The Electric Reliability Council of Texas, or ERCOT, operates the state's electric grid and manages about 90% of the state's electric load. For more information on water and utilities disruptions, contact your direct provider.