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

Findings to be submitted Thursday, June 24, 2021

Winter Storm
Winter Storm

SAN ANTONIO – The city of San Antonio is hoping the final findings of the February winter storm’s response efforts are polished before being released, which is why the date of release is now June 24 instead of June 15.

“It is just a matter of how long is it going to take us to actually type and make edits,” said Ana Sandoval, District 7 councilwoman. “It is a very boring reason for the delay.”

Sandoval is also a member of the Emergency Preparedness Committee, which is reviewing February’s deadly winter storm.

The findings will include a series of recommendations, like changes to the statewide regulatory system.

As long as the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, or ERCOT, is in charge, there is not much cities can do.

“We could do everything right locally. If ERCOT says you need to reduce your load, we are going to have to do that. So there is very little we could do unless the state changes some regulations and the way it manages electricity distribution,” Sandoval said.

Another recommendation will be to develop an automated system that works equitably when it comes down to rolling outages.

“There are over 600 circuits in CPS area,” Sandoval said. “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 committee is also pushing for better communication with customers. It’s something CPS Energy spokesman, John Moreno, said the company can do better should anything happen in the summer months.

“Unlike the event in the winter, we are doing it during the time a day where customers can hear the message through TV, radio, social media,” Moreno said. “They can hear the message and say, ‘I can do something to help reduce energy.’”

“I don’t think we were serious enough about pushing that message during the winter storm,” Sandoval said. “That message came out a little too late for it to make a difference. So I am glad that people are paying attention now.”

Also in the findings, people will see how SAWS responded to the winter storm and how the public utility can improve.


About the Authors:

Japhanie Gray is a reporter with KSAT12 News.