Austin ice storm’s power outages complicated by 500-foot tower that decimated transmission lines

In Featured News by Wireless Estimator

Photo: Austin Energy

Photo: Austin Energy

Over 96% of Austin Energy customers in Austin, TX, currently have power after last week’s ice storm, and the utility expects to have close to full service by Sunday, February 12.

Restoring power in some areas can be a multi-day effort, especially when utility equipment is in hard-to-reach areas, such as a greenbelt, or buried under extremely heavy debris.

One of their most complex restorations is occurring in the Westlake area of Austin, where a 500-foot guyed tower crashed down on a three-phase distribution line, four spans of wires, and five power poles.

Austin Energy did not identify the owner of the tower. The FCC does not list a 500-foot or similar-height tower in Travis County that is close to a powerline with the compound layout as shown in the above-provided Austin Energy-provided photograph.

Austin Energy says it continues to prioritize critical loads while also focusing on those customers who have been without power the longest. Since the start of the storm, they have completed 308,000 restorations.

However, the expected weather conditions this week may damage power lines and already weakened trees, causing additional outages, increasing the risk for their lineworkers, and slowing progress.

An update on restoration efforts by Austin Energy is expected tomorrow.