The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) has issued an Operating Condition Notice (OCN) for extreme cold weather expected in the ERCOT region Thursday, Feb. 11 through Monday, Feb. 15. During this time, temperatures are expected to be at or below freezing, and precipitation has not been ruled out.
We understand the frustration that going without power can create. Our central focus following a major storm is the safe restoration of power as quickly as possible. That’s why we are issuing the following storm preparation tips and explanation of the restoration process following a storm.
Prior to a storm:
Customers who are on life support systems or other medical equipment that requires electricity, are encouraged to make alternate arrangements in case of extended power outages.
AEP Texas also recommends customers prepare an emergency outage kit with items like flashlights, batteries, radios, candles, matches, drinking water, camp stoves, sleeping bags and non-perishable food items.
During and after a severe storm:
- During and immediately after the storm, customers are asked to call the AEP Customer Operations Center only to report downed power lines and other situations that could pose a safety threat. To report a fallen power line or utility pole, call 1-866-223-8508.
- All power lines should be considered energized and dangerous. Although a downed line may look harmless, it could be carrying electricity. Don’t touch anything in contact with the line, such as trees, fences or puddles of water. Because of the likelihood that the storm will cause many lines to fall, customers are asked to keep their children and pets inside during and after the storm.
- Unplug or turn off washers, dryers and other major appliances and electronic equipment like televisions, VCRs and computers. Turn them on one at a time when power is restored.
- If you use a portable generator, DO NOT plug the generator into your circuit box. Portable generators “back-feed” electricity up the line and risk the lives of repair workers and the public. Plug appliances directly into the generator. Also, always follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Most, if not all, require that backup generators be located outside the home and away from open windows in order to prevent the possibility of carbon monoxide poisoning.
- Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible to keep cold air inside. Check out sources of ice or dry ice, if needed. Food should stay frozen for 36 to 48 hours in a fully loaded freezer, 24 hours in a half-full freezer – if you keep the door closed.
- Be extremely careful when using any alternate forms of heating, cooling, cooking and lighting.
- Stay tuned to local news media for updates on the storm situation and recovery progress. Updates also will be posted on aeptexas.com. and social media.
General overview of restoration process:
- Once the storm has passed crews will first begin addressing electric safety hazards such as downed power lines. At the same time, damage assessors begin determining the level of damage and refining the restoration work plans.
- Icy roads and other inclement conditions can slow the restoration process. In the meantime, please keep children and pets from any downed power lines. Consider any downed power lines as energized and dangerous and stay as far away as possible.
- As soon as possible, crews also being work to restore service to critical services such as water treatment plants, hospitals and other city services.
- Crews then begin taking actions that will restore power to the largest number of customers.
- Crews then begin addressing outages that will restore power to individuals or smaller groups of customers.
- The restoration effort continues until power is restored to all homes or facilities that are capable of taking power.