Gov. Greg Abbott, state utility leaders say power grid ‘ready and reliable’ for hard freeze

PUC chair said generators, wires, poles have been winterized

AUSTIN – Gov. Greg Abbott and state utility leaders said the power grid is reliable enough to withstand the hard freeze that’s expected to hit Texas on Thursday afternoon.

Abbott spoke at a news conference on Wednesday morning at the State Operations Center in Austin alongside Texas Division of Emergency Management Chief Nim Kidd, Public Utility Commission Chairman Peter Lake, and Electric Reliability Council of Texas CEO Pablo Vegas. See the briefing in the video player above.

“The grid is ready and reliable,” Lake said, adding that the power grid will have enough generation to meet the demand during the weather event. He said crews have winterized infrastructure like poles, wires and generators, and additional staff has been hired for power plants.

“We have more power available than ever before, we’ve got more backup fuel, and we’ve mapped the critical interactions between the natural gas system and our power generators,” Lake said.

Some localized power outages may be caused by high winds knocking down trees and lines, he said, but that does not mean that “ERCOT or the state does not have sufficient generation.”

According to KSAT meteorologists, this will be the first killing freeze of the season in San Antonio.

Winds from the north at up to 35-40 mph will blast colder air into South Central Texas on Thursday afternoon.

While it is not expected to be as severe as the winter storm of February 2021, temperatures will dip into the teens and 20s around San Antonio by Friday morning. Wintry precipitation is not expected.

The power demand will be the highest from Thursday evening through Saturday morning, Vegas said.

ERCOT expects Friday morning will see the most demand, with a forecasted load of 70,000 megawatts. He said they are forecasting an available supply of 85,000 megawatts.

Abbott said with no precipitation, except in parts of North Texas, emergency management officials are not expecting complications on roads or living conditions.

San Antonio and Bexar County officials will open seven warming centers for people and pets due to freezing temperatures in the forecast.

The warming shelters will be at:

  • Normoyle Community Center, 700 Culberson Ave., San Antonio, 78225
  • South Side Lions Senior Center, 3303 Pecan Valley Drive, San Antonio, 78210
  • Garza Community Center, 1450 Mira Vista, San Antonio, 78228
  • Christ the King Lutheran Church, 1129 Pat Booker Road, Universal City, 78148
  • Emergency Services District 5, 7120 E. 6th St., Somerset, 78069
  • Emergency Services District 3, 23103 Bulverde Road, San Antonio, 78259
  • Emergency Services District 7, 11617 Galm Road, San Antonio, 78254

Kennels will also be available for pets at the Normoyle, South Side Lions and Garza centers.

Watch the full video below:

Gov. Greg Abbott is holding a news conference on Wednesday morning ahead of the hard freeze that’s expected to hit Texas on Thursday afternoon.


Your Weather Authority will continue to update you throughout this cold spell. We’ll go live right to your phones, and you can see the forecast by downloading the KSAT Weather Authority App for Apple or Android. 📱 Be sure to allow notifications for updates, including livestreams from KSAT meteorologists.

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About the Authors:

Rebecca Salinas joined KSAT in the fall of 2019. Her skills include content management, engagement and reporting.

Erica Hernandez is an Emmy award-winning journalist with15 years of experience in the broadcast news business. Erica has covered a wide array of stories all over Central and South Texas. She's currently the court reporter and cohost of the podcast Texas Crime Stories.