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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Come later tonight, Texans will officially know who will be on the ballot for the November general election.
In Texas, candidates must win at least 50% of the vote to be elected. In the March primaries where the top candidate only received a plurality of votes, a runoff is being held. Voters will decide on the candidates to represent their party in the November general election. Just like the March primaries, voters will choose which party they'd like to vote in. Then based on location, each ballot will show which races are in a runoff.
Here's everything you need to know before heading to the polls.
Know before you go
The registration period for this election has passed; check if you're registered to vote here.
The polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily. As long as you're in line by 7 p.m., you can vote.
You'll need a valid photo ID to present once you're at a polling location.
Here is where you can vote in Travis County.
View wait times at polling locations here.
Races to watch in Travis County:
- Republican: Incumbent Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick won his primary in March.
- Democratic: Mike Collier and Michelle Beckley are vying to be the Democrat candidate on the ballot.
- Republican: Incumbent AG Ken Paxton is fighting for his seat against George P. Bush.
- Democratic: Rochelle Garza and Joe Jaworski will face off to be the Democratic candidate in this race.
View all the statewide races on the ballot here.
U.S. House of Representatives
View the district you live in here.
- Republican: Incumbent Chip Roy won his primary in March.
- Democratic: Claudia Andreana Zapata and Ricardo Villarreal are hoping to secure this vote.
- Republican: Dan McQueen and Michael Rodriguez are going head to head to be the Republican candidate in this race.
- Democratic: Former Austin council member Greg Casar won this race in March.
- Republican: Ellen Troxclair and Justin Berry are vying to be the Republican candidate in this race.
- Democratic: Pam Baggett won her primary in March.
A big-money bird has been stolen from a northwest Austin pet store.
Kelsey Fernandez, the owner of a $6,000 sulphur and citron-crested cockatoo named Lemon Grab, said the emotional support animal was taken from the Gallery of Pets store, around closing time on Sunday.
"I've struggled with mental illness my entire life, and ever since I got him I've been doing so much better," Fernandez told Austonia.
The $6k cockatoo is young and will starve unless he is fed by hand, Fernandez said.
In a surveillance video, a man appears to have something under his shirt as he and two others exit the business around the same time the store believes that Lemon Grab was stolen.
Fernandez said a report has been filed with the Austin Police Department with an $1,000 reward for his return.
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