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Blackouts remain widespread amid winter storm; 300,000+ without power in SA

CPS Energy says residents can expect longer outages Monday night as efforts to restabilize the electric grid remain hampered.

SAN ANTONIO — With temperatures remaining firmly in sub-freezing territory in San Antonio and across south Texas as part of the ongoing winter storm, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) has begun rolling power outages to conserve energy. 

The move comes as ERCOT declares a level 3 Energy Emergency Alert. 

Meanwhile, CPS Energy officials said Monday night that "even longer, sustained periods" of power outages are expected for residents in order "to avoid a catastrophic event for the ERCOT grid." They are expected to continue through Tuesday evening, at the minimum. 

The energy provider also said the strategies for employing rolling blackouts "are made in a nondiscriminatory manner," and utility workers are simultaneously working to keep the lights on for "critical functions" such as hospitals and government entities. 

As of 4:50 a.m., more than 300,000 customers were without power.

You can find a map of the outages from CPS Energy below: 

And below is a map of power outages in the Hill Country area, from Central Texas Electric Coop: 

Energy tips

Temperatures in the area are expected to continue dropping and not warm back into the 40s until Tuesday. As a result, CPS Energy is asking San Antonians to limit their power use during this time.

“The citizens of the Greater San Antonio community are great partners when it comes to conserving energy. It is now time for us to band together even more,” said Paula Gold-Williams, President & CEO of CPS Energy. “Focused efforts of San Antonians doing their part to reduce their use of electric and natural gas energy will help our community better get through this period and keep their bills affordable.”

Reducing the thermostat to 68 degrees could help make a big difference.

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas predicts record energy use across the state, which could  cause people to lose power. If you're using a generator, here are some safety tips from CPS:

  • DO use carbon monoxide detectors in areas near the generator to monitor levels
  • DO TURN OFF all appliances powered by the generator before shutting down the generator itself
  • DO plug the generator into a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) to help prevent electrocutions and electrical shock injuries
  • DO make sure your generator is properly grounded
  • DO make sure extension cords used with generators are rated for the load and are in good condition
  • DO NOT connect generators directly to household wiring without an appropriate transfer switch installed
  • DO NOT overload the generator

CPS Energy also provides the following safety tips associated with natural gas:

  • Never use a stove/oven as a space heater. Using the stove or range to heat your home can produce dangerous carbon monoxide gas.
  • Test smoke alarms to verify they are working in every bedroom, outside each sleeping area, and on every floor.
  • Test or install carbon monoxide alarms in a central location outside sleeping areas.
  • Keep flammable liquids and spray cans at least three feet from heating equipment.
  • When using a natural gas space heater, leave a window open a couple of inches for proper ventilation.
  • Have your natural gas appliances serviced and repaired by professionals. Keep areas around your gas water heater or furnace clean, uncluttered, and free of flammable materials.
  • If you smell a strong odor that smells like rotten eggs, get out of the house immediately. Don't turn any electrical switches on or off. Don’t use a flashlight or the telephone. An electric spark from any electric or battery-powered device, or even from static electricity, could ignite a gas leak and cause an explosion. Call (210) 353-4357 (HELP) from a neighbor's house as soon as possible. Never try to locate the source of a gas leak yourself.