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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.

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