Austin Energy works to restore power to more customers

A week into this winter weather and thousands of Austin residents are facing power and water issues.  The City of Austin says they are working tirelessly to restore power and water to customers. 

Austin Energy so far is still not rotating outages but could start doing so soon. In that case, those rotations could result in around 10 minutes of power loss for customers. 

If you do get power back Thursday, energy officials say it’s important that you do your part to conserve as well, by avoiding turning on lights and heating your home gradually.

The weather has continued to slow down crews trying to restore power to customers who were knocked out due to damage from the storm itself. Power companies have also been working to deal with new outages caused by icy buildup on trees, poles, and power lines thanks to Wednesday’s freezing rain. 

RELATED: Several Central Texas cities issue boil water notices

"I don't think enough is being done. I think that they failed us," said Christine Pack.

Pack has lived in the Austin Colony neighborhood for 15 years. She is one of the thousands of Austinites who have been without power for several days.

"We lost power at 8 a.m. on Monday. They failed us as Texans. They failed us and I think that they need to be held accountable," she said, talking about state and city leaders, as well as Austin utility companies.

"Austin Energy is doing everything we can to restore power," said Jackie Sargent, GM of Austin Energy.

On Wednesday, city leaders along with Austin Water and Austin Energy held a press conference to shed some light on the current situation in Austin. 

Thousands of people are without power, and Austin Energy says they are working actively to change that.

"As ERCOT reserves improve, even though they do remain low, we are able to restore some customers. We have restored as many circuits as we can at this time across our service territory and we are prioritizing those customers who have been without power the longest. However, this power may not be able to stay on indefinitely," said Sargent.

RELATED: ERCOT hoping to start rolling outages due to more supply

ERCOT says the Texas power grid is slowly improving, but they’re not likely to give the green light for full restoration until possibly a few days from now—once the grid stabilizes.

Statewide, ERCOT reports they were able to restore around 1.6 million households over the course of Wednesday, and that progress continued overnight. 

As for rolling outages, Pedernales has been doing that all along, but the company says they are refining how they do it—with those outages now happening for about an hour and a half, every three hours, to give customers at least some consistency. 

After doing rotating outages late into Wednesday night, Bluebonnet says they’ve stopped doing that because they’re now able to meet their load-reduction requirement. 


District 4 City Council Member Greg Casar says the state finally gave Austin Energy permission to restore power to more customers. He says this could be temporary and act as rolling blackouts, but it's a start. "It's totally unacceptable the situation that people are in right now, and our focus has to be trying to get power back onto folks, getting people warmed up, trying to get water back to places where water lines have broken."

"Over the last roughly 36 hours, we've seen significant changes in demand on our water system.," said Greg Meszaros with Austin Water.


As for Austin Water, Meszaros says to stop dripping faucets. This goes back on previous advice Austin Water was giving to customers to prevent frozen pipe bursts. Meszaros says faucet dripping in addition to water pipe bursts has significantly increased water demand and Austin Water can't keep up.

RELATED: ERCOT asking for energy conservation due to severe winter weather

"We're seeing main breaks and pipe bursting and dripping faucets by the tens of thousands all across our system. I think this is more than we would have ever experienced, at any time, in Austin Water’s 100-year history," said Meszaros.

Austin is currently under a citywide boil water notice.