CPS Energy says it is ready for cold blast, says customers should also prepare

‘Energy demand is not expected to exceed supply and result in outages,’ utility says

San Antonio City Council approves CPS Energy rate hike

SAN ANTONIO – CPS Energy said it is prepared for the freezing weather forecast to hit the San Antonio area beginning Thursday.

According to a news release, the utility said freezing temperatures are not expected to last as long as they did during the February winter storm, so the “energy demand is not expected to exceed supply and result in outages.”

CPS Energy said it has further strengthened the resiliency of its power plants against sustained freezing temperatures. Plants received $2 million in improvements, building on nearly $20 million invested following a winter freeze in 2011. The winterization efforts will continue as part of the utility’s recently approved rate increase. Thirty-one million dollars of the revenue from the increase is allocated for infrastructure resiliency – power generation and distribution projects to support operations during extreme weather.

“We are confident that the work our team has completed will help our infrastructure withstand the upcoming freezing temperatures,” said Chief Grid Optimization & Resiliency Officer Paul Barham. “We are better prepared with our generation units, fuel supply, the plan for executing rolling power outages in the future, and our communications to customers have steadily improved over the past year.”

Since last February, CPS Energy has reevaluated its circuits to more precisely isolate the ones providing electricity to critical infrastructure such as hospitals, police and fire stations. As a result, 155 circuits were added to the list of eligible circuits to rotate in the event of state-mandated outages. The approach minimizes the duration each customer is in an outage by spreading the outages among more customers.

As CPS Energy reassures the community of its preparedness, the utility is asking customers to also be ready for the cold front, which may bring wind gusts up to 40 miles per hour and lead to power outages from fallen tree branches on power lines or other equipment damage.

Customers should be prepared to activate their personal emergency plans, especially if they rely on medical equipment, and consider relocating if needed. To stay informed, customers are encouraged to sign up for Energy Alerts or call 210-353-2222 to provide their emergency contact information. Customers can stay informed of outages by visiting CPS Energy’s interactive Outage Map.

Some other severe weather tips include:

  • Keep all mobile devices charged and have battery-powered LED lights, flashlights, batteries, and other essential items ready.
  • Stay away from downed power lines and report them to CPS Energy at (210) 353-HELP (4357). Do NOT attempt to move or drive over the lines. Treat them as if they are live. Power lines may still have electricity running through them even in an outage.
  • Keep the refrigerator door closed as much as possible. Refrigerated food should be safe for up to 4 hours. Visit the U.S. Food & Drug Administration website to learn how to keep food safe at fda.gov.
  • If neighbors have power, customers should check their breakers. Tripped breakers account for about 20 percent of service calls.
  • For more information on power restoration and outage causes, watch this video.

Customers are advised to always make safety a priority. If using a power generator, be sure to use it safely. Running a generator improperly can be harmful and even deadly. Generator owners should follow the user manual for their safety and the safety of crews responding to an outage.

Out of an abundance of caution, and in an effort to keep additional traffic off of the roadways, CPS Energy walk-in centers will be closed Thursday, January 20. Walk-in centers will return to normal operating hours beginning Friday, January 21.

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About the Author:

David Ibañez has been managing editor of KSAT.com since the website's launch in October 2000.