The coldest weather of the year arrives in Texas this week. It brings with it plenty of anxiety over the condition of the state’s power grid and more. One way to help stay safe is to stay informed.
Here are some links to help you check up on road conditions, power outages and services that may be disrupted by the freeze.
Of course if you lose power, your internet connection will be down. That’s why it’s a good idea to charge your phone ahead of time.
How to check the grid
The Electric Reliability Council of Texas says it has enough energy in reserve to meet the very high demand it’s expecting (especially Friday morning). That’s important because the grid operator may have to institute another statewide blackout if supply and demand get out of sync.
Of course, there’s not a ton of public confidence in the grid right now.
You can check up on grid conditions yourself by visiting the ERCOT website. Just click this link to see ERCOT’s real-time tracking of supply and demand on the grid, as well as what the agency is expecting.
If grid conditions get tight, ERCOT will issue calls to conserve electricity and take other energy-saving measures before doing power cuts. But, even if there are no statewide blackouts, that does not mean there won’t be local outages.
How to check local outages
Just because there’s no statewide power emergency doesn’t mean you won’t lose power. During almost any big winter storm, icy tree limbs fall on power lines. Austin Energy says that’s likely to happen in some places in its service area, and that crews are ready to respond.
If you’re an Austin Energy customer you can check local outages by going to the utility’s online outage map here to see where local power outages are happening. You can also sign up for text updates on outages by texting REGISTER (or REG) to 287-846.
Outage information for Bluebonnet Electric Coop customers can be found here.
Outage information for Oncor customers can be found here.
Outage information for the Pedernales Electric Coop can be found here.
Outage information for Georgetown Electric Utility customers can be found here.
Public safety officials are advising people to avoid driving if at all possible. If you need to get on the road, make sure to have a full tank of gas, jumper cables and an emergency kit that has food, water, a flashlight and warm clothes.
To check recent traffic camera images of Central Texas road conditions, go to this map created by KUT’s Nathan Bernier.
You can check road conditions statewide at DriveTexas.org.