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Abbott says 70K Texans out of power, but State grid will have enough reserves to power 2 million homes

Before the storm arrived, Abbott said that Texas would be using every applicable State agency to make sure the state can "robustly respond" to the upcoming storm.

AUSTIN, Texas — Texas Gov. Greg Abbott gave an update to the public Thursday morning as a winter storm bears down on much of the state.

The governor spoke at the Alternate State Operations Center in Austin and was joined by representatives from various state agencies.

An Arctic cold front brought rounds of rain and plummeted temperatures in the Austin and Central Texas area, and by around 5 a.m. Thursday, reports of icing on the ground started to trickle in. A Winter Storm Warning is in effect for nearly the entire KVUE area through 9 p.m. on Thursday. Significant icing up to a third of an inch with some amounts up to a half-inch is likely. For the latest weather updates, click here

KVUE streamed Abbott's press conference on KVUE.com and our KVUE social media pages. The press conference begins around 35 minutes into live weather coverage below:

"The State of Texas has deployed a plethora of resources to ensure our communities have the support they need to respond to this storm," said Governor Abbott. "Texas is experiencing one of the most significant ice events in decades, but we have taken unprecedented steps to ensure that our power grid continues to function reliably despite treacherous weather conditions. As we continue to face freezing temperatures, precipitation, and other dangerous elements, I urge Texans to be prepared and heed the guidance of their local officials as we all work together to keep people safe." 

Abbott said that the expected peak demand from the power grid on Thursday will be 68,600 megawatts (MW) at 8 p.m. with 84,700 MW of available generation capacity. For Friday, Abbott said the forecasted peak demand will be 74,700 MW at 8 a.m. and the available generation capacity will be 85,477 MW at that point. 

Abbott placed emphasis that there is more than 10,000 MW of expected excess power from the grid, which he said equates to powering nearly 2 million homes. 

The Public Utility Commission of Texas and the Electric Reliability Council of Texas have both noted that the power grid is not experiencing any issues and it remains reliable, in part thanks to successful winterization efforts.

For anyone who does not have power, Abbott urged those Texans to report the outage to local electric providers, which can be found at puc.texas.gov/storm.

Abbott issued a proclamation allowing out-of-state assistance from electricity crews. He said Texas had more than 10,000 linemen working to help with power lines in the state and another 2,000 linemen from out of state helping.

Abbott also signed an emergency proclamation for 17 of Texas' 254 counties.

Texas residents can find information on road conditions throughout the state at DriveTexas.org, or by phone at 800-452-9292. If you're stranded on the roads, call 1-800-525-555 or visit tceq.texas.gov.

Before the winter storm arrived, Abbott said that Texas would be using every applicable State agency to make sure the state can "robustly respond" to the upcoming storm.

Abbott explained in a Feb. 1 press conference that there was a probability that some Texans could lose power during the storm because of reasons that do not have to do with the electric grid, such as ice accumulation on power lines or falling trees.

"That doesn't mean that there are challenges with the power grid in the state of Texas. It means that for a short period of time, a particular neighborhood may be without power, but know that your local power company that you have contracted with is working to make sure that that power will be restored quickly, even though there may not be a problem with the Texas power grid itself," Abbott said.

As of Thursday morning, the Austin area has not experienced many power outages. Around 99.93% of Austin Energy's customers had power as of 10:30 a.m. Around 99.9% of PEC's customers still had power as of 8:30 a.m.

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