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Governor says electric grid is 'reliable' as Texas faces most significant icing events in decades

The roads in downtown Austin are nearly completely empty with prevalent ice. (Laura Figi/Austonia)

Though the weather is bleak out and temperatures are expected to continue to drop as the day goes on, Gov. Greg Abbott said that Texans need not worry about the power grid collapsing despite navigating “one of the most significant icing events” the state has seen in decades.

Abbott said the “Texas electric grid is the most reliable and resilient than it has ever been,” as he gathered with state agency leaders to give an update on what has been dubbed Winter Storm Landon on Thursday morning.

According to the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, the grid is expected to have 10,000 MW, enough to power two million homes, to spare at peak demand. Public Utility Commission of Texas chairman Peter Lake said the grid is operating in a “much more conservative approach” to maintain a bigger margin of safety.

“Most importantly, our generators and power lines are now weatherized to not only meet but exceed federal standards,” Lake said. “We will continue to work with our partners and our fellow state agencies to ensure localized outages are addressed quickly. The grid is strong, reliable, and is performing well in this winter weather event.”

Around 70,000 customers across the state, more than 800 in Austin, have lost power due to downed power lines, not the grid, according to Abbott at 11 a.m. Last year, more than 4.5 million customers lost power. If you find yourself without power, customers are advised to contact their local provider.

Meanwhile, gas providers are not expecting any service interruptions at this time and neither are local water providers. In order to keep water systems on and flowing, officials advise everyone to report water pipe breaks and turn off the water source in the event of a break in your home.

As far as road conditions are concerned, the Texas Department of Public Safety is urging all residents to stay off the roads. Texas DPS executive director Mark Williams said pretreatments on roads have likely washed away due to rains and heavy ice has accumulated on roads.

“The primary message that we want to get out for motorists is if you don’t have to be on the roads, don’t get out there and drive,” Williams said.

In the event you become stranded while driving, call 1 (800) 525-5555 and be sure to check road conditions before heading out.

The coldest temperatures are yet to come, with expectations to drop down to 21 degrees in the early morning hours on Friday. Protect your homes and family by following the four Ps:

  1. Check on vulnerable people
  2. Bring pets inside
  3. Cover plants
  4. Insulate outdoor pipes and faucets
Check our winterization guide for tips on weathering the storm.


With deposition and trial looming, Elon Musk has offered $44B for Twitter, again

Elon Musk has proposed once again to buy Twitter for $54.20 a share.

The news that Musk is offering to carry on with the $44 billion buyout was first reported by Bloomberg. Now, a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission shows Musk made the proposal in a letter to the tech giant on Monday.

The New York Stock Exchange temporarily halted trading in Twitter stock twice Tuesday, first because of a big price move and the second time for a news event, presumably the announcement of Musk's renewed offer.

While the per share offer price on this latest proposal remains the same as the original offer, it’s unclear if Musk has made other term changes or if Twitter would reject it. According to other reports, a deal could be reached this week.

The stock closed at $52.00/share Tuesday, indicating market uncertainty around the $54.20 offer.

After Musk informed Twitter of plans to terminate the original agreement in July, Twitter sued. A trial has been expected in Delaware Chancery Court on Oct. 17.

With the proposition of a buyout on the table again, it revives the question of whether Musk might move Twitter from San Francisco to Central Texas.

He’s done so with some of his other companies. Tesla’s headquarters in southeast Travis County had its grand opening earlier this year and tunneling business The Boring Company moved to Pflugerville. At least two other Musk companies, SpaceX and Neuralink, have a Central Texas presence without being headquartered here.

Technology journalist Nilay Patel this afternoon voiced concerns that owning Twitter and Tesla together could be problematic for Musk, as his Tesla manufacturing facilities in Germany and China are both in countries that have disputes with Twitter over content moderation and censorship.

Telsa shares fell after the Twitter news became public, before rallying to close up, at $249.44.

Austin rents nearly double in a year and are now in the top 5 nationwide

While searching for a place to live, Austin renters will face monthly rates of nearly $3,000, a recent guide from rental marketplace Dwellsy shows.

The median rent in August this year was $2,930, a more than 86% increase since August 2021. That’s $820 more than the nationwide median asking rent in August and puts Austin just below the Bay Area, Boston and New York for large cities with the most expensive asking rent.

“Within this group, Austin, TX stands out for the highest increases in asking rent, which has nearly doubled since this time last year,” the study notes.

Outside of those large cities, however, others are seeing even higher rent spikes. Metro areas that ranked above Austin in one-year increases include those like Kansas City, MO with a 112% change in rent since last August and Tucson, AZ with a 124% change.

The data reflects large apartment communities, single-family homes and 2-6 unit buildings.