Map shows that San Antonio’s winter storm power outages were vastly different between neighborhoods

Committee will recommend more consistency in spreading out rolling outages

CPS Energy's load shed map during Winter Storm Uri.
CPS Energy's load shed map during Winter Storm Uri. (KSAT)

SAN ANTONIO – A map recently produced by CPS Energy showed something many San Antonio residents suspected was true during Winter Storm Uri — outages were vastly unequal between neighborhoods.

CPS Energy created the load shed map at the request of the city’s Committee on Emergency Preparedness, which is reviewing how utilities responded to the crisis. The map only includes outages that were mandated by the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) and not uncontrolled outages, according to documents provided by the municipal utility.

The map shows outages all throughout the city of San Antonio, but the majority of the outages came from the North Side of San Antonio. The South Side did not see as many widespread outages, likely due to its lower population density.

“There are over 600 circuits in CPS area,” said District 7 councilwoman Ana Sandoval, who is on the committee. “About 274 of them experienced some kind of shutdown. Among the 274, if you look, most of them are on the North Side. Among the 274, it is not equitable. Some of them got it for a few hours, some had it for over 40 hours that their power was out.”

The map does not appear to follow any particular trend along racial or economic lines. Some neighborhoods saw outages that lasted 13 hours or less, while others were out of power for more than two days during frigid temperatures. Sandoval said the committee will recommend a more automated system that distributes load shed more uniformly. The full report will not be ready until late June.

The load shed map could provide a blueprint to potential outages that could come this summer amid hot temperatures and downed power plants that need repairs. ERCOT on Monday asked Texans to conserve energy to avoid rolling outages.

Winter Storm
Winter Storm

In a press release, ERCOT officials said the issue is a result of “A significant number of forced generation outages combined with potential record electric use for the month of June.”

ERCOT officials said they are conducting an analysis to determine why that much generation is offline.

Read more:

San Antonio Emergency Preparedness Committee member gives sneak peak of winter storm response findings

ERCOT issues Conservation Alert on Monday asking Texans to reduce electric use immediately

Energy instability at forefront of Texans’ minds after second straight day of ‘tight grid’ conditions


About the Authors:

Fares Sabawi has been a journalist in San Antonio for four years. He has covered several topics, but specializes in crime, courts, open records and data visualization.

Japhanie Gray is a reporter with KSAT12 News.