SAN ANTONIO – Last year, Vianna Vásquez had to transport water for her parents across the street, and tried her best to keep her and her family warm on the city’s South Side.
“We didn’t have any electricity, not just for a few hours (but) for a long time,” Vásquez said. “And I had little ones in (my home).”
Meanwhile, she said neighbors down the street didn’t have it as bad.
“They never had their electricity turned off. They were fine. We were the ones over here hurting,” Vásquez said. “I try not to be angry about it, but I don’t really think Texas is prepared for low temperatures like that.”
However, in a statement to KSAT, CPS said it is better prepared with millions of dollars invested in protecting critical equipment.
“CPS Energy generating units and plant teams are prepared for the anticipated winter weather… More than 100 structures have been installed to protect critical equipment, and other protective measures have been implemented. These include the placement of additional heaters, protective barriers, and new measures totaling $2 million since February 2021.”
CPS said it has also added 155 circuits to rotate in case there are state-mandated outages due to the high energy demand.
According to ERCOT’s interim CEO, Brad Jones, ERCOT has also winterized their systems.
“ERCOT will deploy all the tools available to us to manage the grid effectively during this winter weather… coordinating with electric generators and transmission and distribution utilities — to keep Texans informed throughout the week.”
As for Vásquez, she said this time she won’t trust the rollouts.
“If it gets to that point, we’re just going to go to a hotel,” Vásquez said. “I mean, that’s the only thing I can think of.
You can read the full statement from CPS Energy down below:
“According to ERCOT, record-high demand is forecasted for the state as freezing temperatures are expected later in the week. CPS Energy generating units and plant teams are prepared for the anticipated winter weather.
Since Winter Storm Uri, CPS Energy has strengthened the resiliency of our power plants against sustained freezing temperatures by implementing winterization initiatives to protect the plants, pipes, and other critical equipment. More than 100 structures have been installed to protect critical equipment, and other protective measures have been implemented. These include the placement of additional heaters, protective barriers, and new measures totaling $2 million since February 2021. This builds on nearly $20 million invested following a winter freeze in 2011.
Additionally, since last February, we have re-evaluated our 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 of each customer’s outage by spreading the outages out among more circuits and more customers.
Winterization efforts will continue as part of our 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.
As a reminder, customers are encouraged to sign up for Energy Alerts or call (210) 353-2222 to provide their emergency contact information. Visit our winter preparation pages in English at cpsenergy.com/prepare and Spanish at cpsenergy.com/preparar and continue following the CPS Energy social media channels for weather-related updates.”
Full statement from Brad Jones, ERCOT Interim CEO:
“The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) is anticipating high demand for power Wednesday through Sunday due to a forecasted cold front. This cold front is expected to bring winter weather and precipitation to the ERCOT region. ERCOT is taking early preventative action ahead of the expected increase in demand to ensure the grid remains reliable.
ERCOT will deploy all the tools available to us to manage the grid effectively during this winter weather. We are coordinating closely with the Texas Division of Emergency Management, the Public Utility Commission and elected officials — as well as electric generators and transmission and distribution utilities — to keep Texans informed throughout the week. We have ordered power plants across the region to postpone planned outages and to return from outages already in progress.”