City of Lampasas crews began preparing for severe winter weather last week.
“We put 20 tons of sand out on low-water crossings, bridges on Key Avenue and in residential areas – around the fire department, everywhere we were called to go,” Street Superintendent Carlos Garcia said.
Garcia said the Texas Department of Transportation applied brine on state-maintained roads such as Key Avenue.
“With all the traffic coming through Lampasas,” Garcia said, those de-icing measures “would probably last 24 hours.”
The Electric Reliabilty Council of Texas predicted high electric demand during extreme cold could cause rolling blackouts.
On Monday about 9 a.m., City Manager Finley deGraffenried said southern parts of Lampasas had experienced a few power outages of about 30 minutes and a few of more than an hour.
AdventHealth Rollins Brook is a high-priority facility where officials are trying to avoid power loss, deGraffenried said. As of mid-morning Monday, no power outages had affected the hospital or other northern parts of town, deGraffenried said.
Intermittent blackouts are possible throughout the state through the morning of Feb. 18, deGraffenried said. The city has urged utility customers to limit appliance use and lower thermostats to conserve energy and possibly prevent power loss.
Officials with Pedernales Electric Cooperative said overall its system had performed well through the start of the harsh weather event. Marble Falls, Bertram, Liberty Hill and Cedar Park were the areas affected the most last week, as some outages were caused by iced tree limbs falling onto power lines.
In a 24-hour period from Thursday to Friday afternoon, approximately 18,000 PEC member meters were affected by shortterm outages, but PEC said it had 103 crews working overnight throughout the service territory to restore electricity.
Joe Raibourn with Hamilton County Electric Cooperative acknowledged that system also had some weather-related outages last week.
“We got very fortunate with the freezing rain,” he said, compared to what could have occurred. “To the east of us got hit pretty hard,” particularly in Bell County and Falls County, he added.
He also mentioned one outage at 3 a.m. Friday that affected about 400 people. Hamilton County Electric crews were on the scene for about 1½ hours in Mills County near Priddy, working to restore the power.
“We’ve spent a lot of money over the last 15-20 years to get the system in shape – pole changeouts, tree trimming, engineering studies,” Raibourn said.
“So our system is in real good shape.”
He acknowledged, though, that the cold temperatures can play havoc with electric lines.
“If it gets to zero … we are expecting some overloaded lines, and it just takes some time to bring those back,” Raibourn said.