Thousands still lack electricity after winter's onslaught

Power outages continue to plague Central Texas in the aftermath of one of the worse winter storms in decades. A powerful Arctic storm dropped about a half-a-foot of snow on the region over night Sunday while temperatures — which rarely rose above 25-degrees Sunday afternoon — plunged into the mid-single digits.

Monday’s forecast high was 21-degrees.

At noon Monday, more than 40% of PEC’s Leander customers and about 20% of Cedar Park’s customers, were with out power, according to the online outage map the coop maintains.  Austin Energy reported that about 40% of its customers were also without power. Many of those customers had been without power since Sunday evening.

“We have several outages our crews are quickly and safely attempting to address this. Simultaneously, we’re operating under the statewide directive for service interruptions,” said a PEC spokesperson. “That’s the lay of the land at the moment.”

The spokesperson could not say when power would be restored.

According to the Texas Tribune, the state’s electric grid operator lost control of the power supply Monday morning as 2 million Texas households didn’t have heat working at home. When the state’s grid operator, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, began implementing rolling blackouts at 1:25 a.m. Monday, the outages were intended to be implemented on a rolling basis — up to 45 minutes per affected area, according to the ERCOT.

A spokesperson for Williamson County said officials are in close contact with power companies and staying informed on power outages affecting residents. The spokesperson said that people should stay off the roads, check on their neighbors, and remain weather vigilant.  

At about 11:30 a.m. Monday, there were power outages on Whitestone Boulevard that extended roughly from Discovery Boulevard to Vista Ridge. Sporadic additional outages branched off the road beyond those points. All businesses, restaurants, grocery store and big box stores, like Target and Walmart, are closed along the lengths of Whitestone Boulevard, Bell Boulevard and US 183. There was no power along US 183/Bell Boulevard extending to Lakeline Mall Drive.

The City of Cedar Park said Monday morning many of their customers reported trouble with water pressure, but attributed that to frozen pipes in individual homes rather than a system-wide problem.

WilCo emergency management reported a high demand for services Sunday, a situation that continued on into the day Monday.

“Although our paramedics are prepared to respond to all calls, we ask that our residents do their part right now to avoid any potential hazard,” said Williamson County EMS Director Mike Knipstein. “Preventing a fall by staying indoors allows our field paramedics to continue working around the clock to answer serious and life-threatening emergencies.”  



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