Photo courtesy of ERCOT.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbot meets with officials from ERCOT, the Texas PUC and other entities.

UPDATED: Texas Winter Storm Causes Outages for More Than 400,000

Feb. 1, 2023
Power outages may last into the weekend, Texas electricity authorities report. About 120,000 are without power in Arkansas and Oklahoma.

Winter Storm Mara hit Texas early February 1, bringing with it a heavy layer of ice that weighed down power lines and shattered tree limbs, triggering widespread outages.

Reports have placed the number of outages at about 430,000 at peak, with the worst of the outages happening in Travis County, where the state capital of Austin is located.

As of Thursday, outage maps showed about 173,000 people without electricity in Travis County. Tyler, Waco and Denton also reported significant numbers of outages.

USA Today reported outages outside the Lone Star State, with about 120,000 people without power across Arkansas and Texas. Some 10 people have died in connection with the ice storm, mostly in traffic accidents on frozen highways. 

Entities such as Oncor and the Electricity Reliability Corporation of Texas said the situation is different than in February 2021, when extreme cold shut down power plants and the natural gas supply.

AEP Texas, Austin Energy, CPS Energy and other utilities have each reported customers without power, including several cooperatives.

According to the National Weather Service, a wintery mix of rain to continue through Thursday with temperatures hovering around freezing. Ice accumulation on trees and power lines is expected to continue and temperatures are not expected to rise to allow thawing.

As of 8:30 a.m., more than 111 outages are impacting about 26,000 CPS Energy customers, the utility said in a press release.

Austin Energy reports it is working to restore power as quickly and safely as possible, but crews are driving on icy roadways and working with frozen equipment. Currently, the Austin area is seeing a quarter to a half inch of ice.

The utility reports about 160,000 people without power. It is possible some customers may be without power for 12 to 24 hours, according to Austin Energy.

ERCOT, which operates the power grid that covers most of Texas, said it expects adequate supply to meet the demand on the power grid.

Oncor reported that communities in its southern, eastern and northeastern regions, including Tyler, Sulphur Springs and Taylor are experiencing the greatest impacts from the storm.

Oncor’s outage map showed about 103,000 people without electricity.

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