Texas will be seeing some of the coldest temperatures in decades over the weekend and into next week. ERCOT has issued a watch for extreme cold weather conditions and a warning of high energy usage stresses to the grid.

With the colder weather and possibly freezing rain and even snow in some areas, downed power lines and electricity generation shutdowns are always a possibility.  Also, with so many people staying home from work and school, your electricity use will likely be higher than forecasted.  Especially for those with electric heat - your usage will definitely increase, which will impact next month's bill.

Here are a few things you can do to prepare and keep your usage increase to a minimum:

  • Protect your pipes by wrapping them with insulation.  Also, leave faucets dripping and pools running so water won't freeze and crack the pipes.  And don't forget about your sprinkler system - drain them if you can.
  • Cover your outdoor plants and provide adequate shelter for outdoor pets, if you can't bring them inside.
  • Keep your thermostat as low as comfortably possible.  Lowering your thermostat by a single degree or two can save energy, which in addition to saving you money can also potentially prevent outages in your area.
  • Avoid running large appliances such as washers, dryers, and electric ovens any more than necessary. You should also turn off and unplug non-essential s and appliances.
  • Stop drafts.  Plastic sheeting can help with windows.  Caulk gaps if you have time.  Towels or blankets can help keep out the cold at the bottom of doors.
  • If you are using a space heater, make sure it is plugged directly into a wall outlet and placed on non-carpeted flooring and three feet from anything that can burn.  Never leave a heater unattended or on while sleeping.
  • Stay away from downed power and utility lines.  Even if they are not sparking, they could be energized and extremely dangerous.  Never drive over a downed power line!  
  • Keep mobile devices charged to use in an emergency.  Before an outage occurs, locate the reporting number or website for your regional TDSP so you can have information readily available.  

Utility Report Outage Website
CenterPoint Energy 1-800-332-7143 Outage Tracker
ONCOR Electric Delivery Company 1-888-313-4747 Outage Tracker
Texas-New Mexico Power 1-888-866-7456 Outage Tracker
AEP Texas 1-877-373-4858 Outage Tracker

Posted on: 2021-02-12 01:15 PM (CST)