100% Austin news, info, and entertainment, straight to your inbox at 6 a.m. every morning.
In five minutes, you're fully informed and ready to start another great day in our city.
Austinites face another day without power due to 'grid stability' issues, some also report water and internet outages
More than 24 hours into a widespread power outage, more than 40% of Austin Energy customers are still impacted. "Due to grid stability concerns, ERCOT is still not allowing us to restore power," the utility tweeted in a 7 a.m. update.
ERCOT, or the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, which manages about 90% of the state's electric load, officials said they are "optimistic" that the will be able to reduce the number of power outages throughout the day. Although ERCOT reported that it had restored power to 500,000 Texas households Monday evening, more Austin Energy customers are facing outages Tuesday morning than the day prior.
"The number of controlled outages we have to do remains high. We are optimistic that we will be able to reduce the number throughout the day." -Dan Woodfin, Senior Director of System Operations
— ERCOT (@ERCOT_ISO) February 16, 2021
Other electricity companies are also facing outages, according to their outage maps. More than 35,000—or nearly two-thirds—of Oncor customers in Travis County are currently impacted. Pedernales Electric Cooperative, which serves customers in Georgetown, Marble Falls and San Marcos, among other cities outside of Austin, reported that 46.8% of its customers were without power Tuesday morning. Another 4,400 Bluebonnet Electric customers in Travis County are also experiencing outages.
Austin residents may also face water outages due to broken water mains and internet outages related to the weather.
By Monday evening, four water main breaks had been reported to Austin Water, and the utility said that about 20 customers were out of water due to ongoing repairs in an update. "Austin Water has several hundred field personnel responding to water related concerns and will rotate shifts as necessary to restore service or assist customers to restore private service," according to the utility.
Major internet and cellular providers are also experiencing service interruptions, according to Downdetector, which tracks self-reported outages and social media posts.
Spectrum and T-Mobile customers seemed to face the most challenges, according to Downdetector's data, which shows hundreds of locally reported issues with those carriers. Verizon, AT&T and Sprint users also saw spikes through Monday.
Spectrum attributed Texas service interruptions to the weather, which is "causing commercial power outages and downed lines," in a tweet on Monday.
Spectrum customers in Texas are experiencing service interruptions related to winter weather causing commercial power outages and downed lines. As conditions allow we will be working to restore services. We apologize and thank you for your patience.
— Ask Spectrum (@Ask_Spectrum) February 15, 2021
- Photos: Winter storm brings power outages, snow to Austin - austonia ›
- Austin power outages could last through Tuesday - austonia ›
- Snow day: power outages, icy roads and school closures - austonia ›
- Austin may face power outage through Tuesday night—or longer - austonia ›
- Austin faces another night without power as resources dwindle - austonia ›
- Austin could see more power outages, 'total system blackout' - austonia ›
- Austin faces third day without power, pipes bursting - austonia ›
- Water conservation is now Austin's 'immediate priority' - austonia ›
- Texas tough: how 32 Austinites are weathering the storm - austonia ›
- Austin housing market sees dip in sales after winter storm - austonia ›
In a match marred by injuries and key player absences, Austin FC lost 2-0 in Los Angeles for the second time on Saturday to West Division titan LA Galaxy.
Austin FC goalkeeper Brad Stuver was tasked with the near-insurmountable task of holding back the LA Galaxy's Chicharito, who is now the league's top scorer this season, and he nearly succeeded.
The club saw its first major threat from the formidable Chicharito when a penalty was drawn on Jhohan Romana. In his usual game-saving fashion, Stuver leapt to the right to kept the scoreboard empty and block what many thought would be the league leader's first goal of the match.
With a Hector Jimenez injury midway through play, a Jon Gallagher absence due to injury and a man down as Captain Alex Ring sat the bench, however, the team was unable to get a win in their second trip to Los Angeles.
Austin FC was slated to play against the odds after Ring was benched due to a second yellow card last week. To cover the wound, the club put standout rookie Daniel Pereira in his stead and placed Danny Hoesen back at the crown of the lineup after fellow striker Gallagher stayed home.
Hector Jimenez got his first start with the club at right back in the stead of Nick Lima, but the run was short-lived. The 32-year-old suffered an injury after attempting to save the first LA Galaxy goal, but Galaxy midfielder Sebastian Lletget still scored the match opener after popping a shot over Stuver to make the match 1-0.
Austin FC plateaued through much of the first half, and the forces of the universe were in the Galaxy's favor as they encroached on Austin's defense.
The club found new stamina, as they usually do, when a set of subs were brought in to up the club's tempo, and ten minutes of the match were entirely Kekuta Manneh's. Manneh, the club's only player with Austin ties, subbed in the 60th minute of play and immediately made an attempt on goal. The winger would make three more attempts, one of which just missed the top right corner of goal, before LA made its next advances on Austin's defense.
Head coach Josh Wolff said he hoped for a goal for Manneh, who doesn't often get to hit the pitch.
"His contributions were obvious, and I would have liked to see him get a goal there," Wolff said.
It looked like Austin might tie it up during the "Kekuta Era," but Chicharito played true to his stats. Stuver went head-to-head with Chicharrito once again and lost as he scored his seventh goal in five matches in the 77th minute of play.
⚽️ x 7️⃣@CH14_ scores his league-leading seventh of the season! #LAvATX pic.twitter.com/28zLnOmKWb
— Major League Soccer (@MLS) May 15, 2021
Matt Besler said he was up for a challenge as the club's central defender and he's unsurprised at Chicharito's success. Besler also said and he respects Chicharito on and off the pitch becuase of his openness about mental illness.
"I was looking forward to the challenge," Besler said. "His recognition of where the space is world class, and it's no surprise that he's scored goals everywhere that he's gone. I respect him as a player and I also respect him off the field."
Another attempt on goal was made by the Galaxy's Kevin Cabral, who sunk one in past Stuver just minutes later, but the goal was called offsides. Still, the match came to an anticlimactic end as Austin FC was unable to get one in goal and lost 2-0.
Besler, who has seen the ebbs and flows of his Sporting Kansas City, his club of 12 years, said that it takes patience to be a successful team. Still, he's impressed that Austin FC has made as much ground as they have in their expansion year.
"I understand that it's going to be a process, and we are in our fifth game of our existence, but the fact that we're at where we are at isa good sign," Besler said. "Towards the last third of the season, that's when hopefully we can peak and look a lot like our final product."
Austin FC will have a chance to snap their two-match losing streak as they head to Nashville SC for their sixth-straight road match at 8 p.m.on Sunday.
Nearly half of Travis County residents 16 and older are fully vaccinated, as of Friday afternoon, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services. And an even greater portion likely have immunity.
Austin-Travis County Interim Health Authority Dr. Mark Escott estimates that around 70% of local residents have some form of immunity to COVID-19, either because they have recovered from the disease or are vaccinated. This is approaching the threshold for herd immunity.
"We're starting to approach that 70% mark of combined disease and vaccination, so we may start to see some significant changes when it comes to disease trends," he told council members and county commissioners on Tuesday.
Escott arrived at this percentage by assuming that there is no overlap between those who have had COVID and those who have been vaccinated. "While there's certainly some overlap … there does not seem to be a lot of overlap between those two," he said.
Herd immunity occurs when enough people are immune to a disease that it is unlikely for someone who contracts the disease to spread it. With no one to infect, the disease dies out.
Public health experts have said herd immunity for COVID will require around 80% of the population to be immune based on its relative infectiousness.
Although natural immunity contributes to herd immunity and is partially responsible for the sharp downturn in the number of new COVID infections in recent months, vaccination is the gold standard among experts because of the increased security it offers.
Austin Mayor Steve Adler celebrated the new CDC guidance as proof of vaccines' efficacy. "Since more people will not be wearing masks, it makes it even more important to get vaccinated," he said in a statement Friday.
- Vaccine Angels help seniors get vaccinated with lists - austonia ›
- Austin's tech-savvy create 'scraper' bots to find vaccine ... ›
- Austin experts say herd immunity is in site—but not guaranteed ... ›