Rolling outages shut down city
Nearly 109,000 Pedernales Electric Cooperative (PEC) customers were without power Monday as a major winter storm wreaked havoc on the state’s self-sufficient electrical grid during the weekend, forcing it into an emergency state of operations.
Frigid temperatures and expected additional precipitation had the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), which operates Texas’ grid, directing service providers like PEC to reduce demand through service interruptions, which were expected to occur throughout the PEC service territory throughout Monday and possibly into Tuesday as well.
As of noon Tuesday, 144,098 of the cooperative’s 350,964 meters were being affected by a reported 767 outages as just 59 percent of the service territory still had power. Other service providers were also reporting huge numbers of customers without power, including Austin Energy with 178,173, Oncor with 37,269 and Bluebonnet Electric with 20,416 customers all lacking electrical service.
In Llano County, County Judge Ron Cunningham said his office and the Office of Emergency Management continues to work with Central Texas Electric Coop (CTEC), Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA) and the Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM) in response and mitigation to the Winter Storm.
“Residents in the Llano County area have been experiencing rolling brown outs, temporary loss of electricity, and extended loss of electricity because of the extra burden on the state’s electrical grid, downed power lines and transformer outages,” Cunningham said. “Llano County has 12,263 homes (86 percent of the county’s homes) are without power and there is no indication that power will be restored within the next 24 hours. Due to the uncertainty of when power will be restored within Llano County, if possible, shelter in place, seek shelter with family or friends or at a Warming Center.”
The First Baptist Church in Llano, located at 107 W Luce, Llano, is open as a Warming Station and temporary shelter for Llano County, Cunningham said.
“Due to power outages in the Kingsland and Buchanan Dam areas there are no Warming Centers available at this time on the east side of Llano County. Additional Warming Stations will be announced as they become available,” he added.
In Marble Falls, Marble Falls Middle School, 1511 Pony Drive, was opened in conjunction with the City of Marble Falls, First Baptist Church Marble Falls, Highland Lakes Crisis Network and the Marble Falls ISD as a Warming Station.
ERCOT announced planned service interruptions, which were ordered beginning at 1:25 a.m. Monday, would continue “as long as the regional grid operator experiences peak demand.”
If an interruption occurs in your area, please take proactive steps for power restoration. All electrical appliances affected by the service disruption should be turned off, as well as circuit breakers to major appliances. Once power is restored, members can avoid electrical overload by turning their appliances back on in 15-minute intervals.
PEC will communicate to members when the emergency service interruptions end. Please go to pec.coop for the latest information, and follow PEC on Facebook and Twitter for the latest event updates.
Law enforcement officials are reminding people not to call 911 to report outages, but to instead report outages to their electric service provider.