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
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So you want to buy a house?
To anyone trying to get on the "housing ladder," it's been a discouraging couple of years as prices skyrocketed in a market crowded with buyers bidding against each other for just about any available home.
Things may be calming down, with the Austin Board of REALTORS reporting fewer sales and more available homes this summer.
Mortgage rates have more than doubled in the last year, from around 3% to well over 6% on a 30-year fixed rate loan, getting even more of a bump this week after the Federal Reserve raised bank rates on Wednesday.
So how affordable are homes right now? That, of course, depends on what you want and how much you're able or willing to pay, but here are some rough estimates of what a typical buyer would pay to buy a $650,000 home, which would be considered "mid-price" in today's market.
Mortgage banker Chris Holland (NMLS 211033) of Austin's Sente Mortgage ran some numbers for Austonia to illustrate a typical purchase.
Holland says that while the 30-year fixed rate mortgage is often mentioned in the media, the most popular loan that he's seeing now is a 7/1 adjustable rate mortgage, which has a fixed rate for 7 years and then adjusts every year based on market rates, with a limit on how much it can increase each year. The interest is amortized over a 30-year period. Adjustable Rate Mortgages (ARMs) offer lower rates than fixed rate loans.
Here are the numbers, which are examples. In practice, exact numbers vary with a buyer's credit rating and overall financial situation, and with the rate, which can move up or down at any time.
- $650,000 home purchase price
- 7/1 ARM at 5.875%
- 5% down payment, equals $32,500
- 95% financed, equals $617,500
- $4,990 payment, including principle and interest (P&I), insurance, and property tax
- Typically, a borrower's debt to income ratio needs to be at or below 45%. So for this mortgage, a borrower, or borrowers, would need income of roughly $11,100/month, or $133,200/year. That number could be higher, depending on the buyer's outstanding credit balances on things like credit cards and car loans.
Holland says he's had a lot of clients approved for loans who were house hunting but have put that on hold, hoping prices come down.
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Fall promises to be a one-of-a-kind camping experience. From Sept. 16 to Nov. 24, weekends will be packed with fall-themed activities, including special Halloween weekends in October. Campers can enjoy activities like fall crafts, campground trick-or-treating, costume contests, site decorating, outdoor movie nights, and more!
Packages and Ways to Stay
Camp Fimfo Waco
Located just 5 miles from McLane Stadium, Camp Fimfo Waco is the perfect place to stay during home game weekends. Skip the stuffy hotel room and embrace the great outdoors before cheering on the Baylor Bears! Campers can purchase a Baylor Tailgating Package that includes a pre-game meal from Executive Chef Sean Kelley and transportation to and from the game! Chef Kelley will also be cooking up delicious, elevated tailgating meals near the stadium so make sure to check out The Plaid Plate food truck before the game.
Stay in style and comfort, no matter your camping preference! At Camp Fimfo Waco, there are multiple ways to stay. Red Carpet RV sites come with a concrete pad and patio, full hook-ups, cable hook-up, a charcoal grill, fire ring and fire pit. Back-in or pull-thru options are available, as well as coveted spots tucked along the Bosque River!
Don’t have an RV? Not a problem, Camp Fimfo Waco has cabins too! Book a Riverview Firewheel Cabin if you’re looking for an air-conditioned oasis for the whole family. Complete with a kitchen and private bathroom, this cabin can fit up to 10 people. Elevate your stay by adding on a golf cart or snag a private cabana by the pool for guaranteed shade. With wifi available throughout the park, you can stay connected during your stay!
Amenities and Activities
Camp Fimfo Waco
Camp Fimfo Waco features lots of amenities to fill your days with fun, whether you’re a kid or kid at heart. After challenging your friends to a game of pickleball, basketball, or mini golf, go for a dip in the resort-style, heated pool - open daily through October! Stay on the weekends through October to enjoy the interactive splash playground. With plenty of ways to burn off energy, like the jumping pillow or playground, you can be sure to end the day with a peaceful night around the campfire!
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