Power outages extend into another day in Austin as officials continue to urge conservation

Winter weather impacted the Austin area overnight Feb. 14 and 15. (Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)
Winter weather impacted the Austin area overnight Feb. 14 and 15. (Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)

Winter weather impacted the Austin area overnight Feb. 14 and 15. (Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)

As more than 210,000 Austin Energy customers are without power, local officials said at a press conference Feb. 15 that power may not be restored to some until the afternoon of Feb. 16 as low temperatures persist through the Central Texas region.

Austin Energy General Manager Jackie Sargent asked Austin residents with power to conserve electricity in an effort to bring the energy grid back online more quickly.

“Based on what they are looking at, this situation is likely to continue through the night and possibly into the afternoon [of Feb. 16], but it depends on what we do as consumers in managing our load and our consumption of electricity,” she said at a press conference. “The more that we can do to conserve, the more we can help our neighbors.”

According to Sargent, in taking direction from its wholesale energy provider Electric Reliability Council of Texas, Austin Energy shut off power to some of its customers. Additionally, it is working to maintain power to circuits that include hospitals, water utilities and emergency services. This has maxed out its allowable energy use, which has prevented Austin Energy from restoring power to customers currently without electricity.

“There is no more energy we can shut off at this time [that would allow us to] bring these customers back on,” Sargent said. “That's why it's so important that we do come together as a community and help each other during this very unprecedented time.”

Sargent said it is too early to predict when power could be restored. As a statewide provider of energy, ERCOT will tell the city when it can restore power to customers, she said.

As temperatures in the Austin area are expected to be near or below freezing over the next three days, and with more winter precipitation in the forecast later this week, Sargent said meeting energy demands could be a challenge even when power is restored to customers.

Travis County Judge Andy Brown said he is one of the thousands of Austin residents who has not had power in his home since 2 a.m. Feb. 15. He advised residents to be careful, to stay home if possible and to try to conserve energy to help others in the area.

“I think that there's a lot of us in the same boat here in Austin and Travis County,” Brown said. “I do know that the electric companies and the providers of energy and the county in the city are doing everything they can to get it back online so that we have power in our house.”

For those still without power or in need of assistance, read here for a list of current emergency services still operating and warming centers that are open in the city of Austin.

Editor's Note: This story has been updated to reflect that more than 210,000 Austin Energy customers were without power the night of Feb. 15.
By Nicholas Cicale
Nick has been with Community Impact Newspaper since 2016, working with the Lake Travis-Westlake and Southwest Austin-Dripping Springs editions. He previously worked as a reporter in Minnesota and earned a degree from Florida State University.


A pilot Austin Police Department cadet class is now set to commence in June under an updated training regimen and with additional city and community oversight on the APD academy's culture and curriculum. (John Cox/Community Impact Newspaper)
Austin City Council votes to restart APD cadet training in June, with framework for ongoing reviews of pilot academy

The Austin Police Department's 144th cadet class will now kick off training next month, with continued oversight of APD's instruction and culture throughout the 34-week academy process.

Marco's Pizza will open a South Austin location later this month. (Nicholas Cicale/Community Impact Newspaper)
Pizzeria opening later this month, a local animal shelter hits a milestone and more South Austin business news

Here are updates from The Bungalow, PAWS Shelter of Central Texas and more.

Holland Photo Imaging celebrates 40 years in business this year. (Courtesy Holland Photo Imaging)
The latest business news in South Central Austin

1. Holland Photo Imaging, located at 2125 Goodrich Ave., Ste. A, Austin, is celebrating its 40th anniversary in the community this year. Founded in 1981 by Pete Holland, the business has been owned by residents Brian and Morgan Morrison since 2006. Holland Photo Imaging offers film processing, printing, framing, photo restoration and archiving services. 512-442-4274. www.hollandphoto.com

A sign advertises a property for rent in Austin on May 6. Local eviction orders remain in place through August 1 protecting most tenants from eviction. (Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)
Local eviction moratoriums remain in effect despite federal judge’s decision

The May 5 ruling from a U.S. District Court judge striking down a federal moratorium does not affect orders in place in Austin or Travis County.

Q2 Stadium in North Austin
U.S. women’s national soccer team to debut Q2 Stadium next month

The USWNT takes on the Nigerian national team at Q2 Stadium ahead of the summer Olympic Games.

Juneau was adopted at Austin Animal Center in November 2019. (Amy Rae Dadamo/Community Impact Newspaper)
Austin Animal Center reaches critical capacity, opens doors to all adopters for first time since May 2020

Austin and Travis County’s animal shelter, Austin Animal Center, reached negative kennel space May 4, meaning there are more dogs than available kennels, according to a release from the city of Austin.

Photo of Holly Morris-Kuentz and communiity members
Dripping Springs ISD officially hires Holly Morris-Kuentz as superintendent

The hire comes after Morris-Kuentz was named lone finalist for the position in April.

Residential appraisal valuations have been sent to Travis County property owners. (Iain Oldman/Community Impact Newspaper)
Travis Central Appraisal Districts says hot housing market is reflected in 2021 appraisals

Property owners have until May 17 to file a protest of their home's appraisal.

The Austin City Council is set to meet May 6 to go over a 70-item agenda. (Ben Thompson/Community Impact Newspaper)
Austin City Hall notebook: Votes on revamped APD cadet academy, possible shift in homeless strategy on tap May 6

Council may look to the possibility of establishing designated campgrounds for the Austin's homeless this spring, with a citywide public camping ban set to go into effect May 11.

Heidi Sloan will assume the position of head of school on July 1. (Courtesy St. Michael's Catholic Academy)
St. Michael’s Catholic Academy announces new head of school

As director of academics, Sloan spearheaded the school’s Winter Term program—a global travel internship program currently in its sixth year.

WellMed clears next hurdle, gaining permit for proposed South Austin clinic and senior center

Sunset Valley will still have to approve a future building permit for the project later this year.