Thousands in Hill Country without power; outages could extend into the weekend

Some families without power since early Tuesday morning

COMAL COUNTY, Texas – Thousands of residents in the Hill Country are still in the cold and dark as crews work to restore power to more areas.

Pedernales Electric Cooperative is responding to multiple power outages across their service area as the winter storm has brought significant ice.

“Our only heat source is our fireplace. The elements have been cold, and we’ve been in bed snuggled up under 5 or 6 blankets,” said Edward Dahlke, who lives in Spring Branch.

Times are proving tough for residents like Dahlke, who says he lost power around 3 a.m. Tuesday.

Monroe and Pauline Frerich live about a mile away. They say their power went out around 8 a.m. Wednesday, adding that the inside of their home was 29 degrees overnight.

“Might run the little heater a little bit more than we did last night. It gets cold, but we got covers,” said Pauline Frerich.

Both families said they’re relying on generators to try and power what they can, but there is a concern their food could go bad.

“Everything is so expensive. I would say $250 to $300 for sure just out of the fridge,” said Frerich.

Driving through the Kestrel Air Park subdivision, there were snapped tree limbs all over the ground, surrounded by ice that once weighed them down.

At night, the only light in the area comes from car headlights.

“You could hear the tree limbs breaking, and you didn’t know if it was on the roof, was it just in the yard, but it’s very nerve-wracking,” Frerich said.

Pedernales Electric Cooperative said in a statement that outages could extend into the weekend.

“I just think that our utility companies need to do a better job making sure that our infrastructure is maintained properly,” said Edward Dahlke.

To check outages number for PEC, click here.

PEC issued the following statement:

“Pedernales Electric Cooperative (PEC) crews continue working to repair poles and downed wires and remove tree limbs. Though the ice is melting, this event is still ongoing and the damage across our service area is extensive. We are seeing an increased number of isolated outages that can take time to repair. Our crews are making progress, but due to the widespread damage, it is difficult to provide a system-wide restoration time. It is possible that outages could extend into the weekend.”

PEC offered the following safety tips:

  • Don’t use your stove or oven for heat. Gas stoves and ovens produce carbon monoxide, and electric ones pose a fire risk when not used as designed.
  • Don’t run your car in the garage to warm up. Only run the vehicle outside, and before you start it, make sure that the exhaust pipe is clear of snow and debris. Taking these steps could save you and your family from carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • Never run a generator closer than 20 feet from doors and windows to prevent fumes from entering the home.
  • If you see a downed line, move away from the line and anything touching it. Call 911 immediately to report a downed line or the emergency report line at 888-883-3379.
  • Call 911 if you are in the event of an emergency.


Hill Country power slowly returns as crews working overtime to repair damage

Ice damage follow-up: Tree branch breakage, insurance claims, and ways to help prevent it in the future

About the Authors:

John Paul Barajas is a reporter at KSAT 12. Previously, he worked at KRGV 5 in the Rio Grande Valley. He has a degree from the University of Houston. In his free time, he likes to get a workout in, spend time on the water and check out good eats and drinks.

Before starting at KSAT in August 2011, Ken was a news photographer at KENS. Before that he was a news photographer at KVDA TV in San Antonio. Ken graduated from San Antonio College with an associate's degree in Radio, TV and Film. Ken has won a Sun Coast Emmy and four Lone Star Emmys. Ken has been in the TV industry since 1994.