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  • Winter Storm Updates for Business

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    February 17, 2021

    The role the business community plays in reducing energy demand continues to be a vital one. Thank you to everyone who has adjusted their energy consumption. 

    Our goal is to continue delivering timely updates, specific ways you can help, and additional resources.  

    What is going on right now?

    It is still critical to reduce energy demand in order to stabilize the statewide energy grid. Those without power will most likely not be restored until at least tomorrow. If you lose power today, report the outage to Austin Energy through 3-1-1, as it is likely due to ice on tree limbs and power lines.  

    Austin Mayor Steve Adler and Travis County Judge Andy Brown released supplemental emergency orders yesterday, which: 

    • aim to protect the community from price gouging;  
    • order manufacturing, industrial, & commercial businesses to minimize non-essential use of electricity; and  
    • prohibit athletic facilities & other businesses from using exterior lighting unless it is essential. 

    Gov. Greg Abbott is holding a press conference February 17 at 3 p.m. to provide an update on the state’s response to winter weather and power outages. 

    Austin Water is now asking residents to conserve water. Some customers are experiencing water outages due to frozen water lines and we are seeing increasing instances of boil water notices.

    Natural gas continues to be stable, although Texas Gas Service is calling for conservation as demand is still high.  

    More warming centers are opening. The below lists are not comprehensive, and some centers may have to temporarily close if they lose power. 

    How Can Businesses Help?

    Conserve, conserve, conserve. For those with energy, continue to use only what you absolutely need, and do everything you can to reduce your usage, including:  

    • reduce lighting to safety needs - turn off exterior and decorative lighting and any unneeded interior lighting; 
    • adjust thermostats to 68 degrees or lower; and  
    • unplug non-essential equipment. 

    The Austin Disaster Relief Network is also taking volunteers to help staff the warming centers. Sign up here

    Where Do We Go From Here?
    • Stay safe. There are reports of carbon monoxide poisoning. Please remind your employees and help spread the word to never use gas stovetops, grills, generators, or leave a car running in an enclosed space. 
    • Keep an eye on your pipes. As we gradually begin to thaw, any pipes that may have frozen might start to leak. KVUE has provided additional tips for protecting pipes.  
    • If you experience a water line break and the property-owner cut-off valve does not work or cannot be located, Austin Water is available to turn off water.
           Report a problem online
           or give Austin Water a call: 512-972-1000 
    • Prevent power surges. As power is restored, continue to keep energy use low to prevent overloading the grid.  
    Above all, please stay safe. We are continuing to meet regularly, so please let us know if there is anything we can do.