As Central Texas Electric Cooperative crews and additional teams work to restore power, Llano County Judge Ron Cunningham issued a disaster declaration for the county.
Cunningham reported that approximately 86 percent of Llano County homes were without power as of 7 p.m. Monday, Feb. 15, affecting more than 12,000 residents. A bulk of the outages are in eastern Llano County. He added in a media release that there’s no indication that power to some of these home will be restored within 24 hours.
Some residents in the Buchanan Dam area reported being without power since Sunday evening.
Burnet County Judge James Oakley issued an disaster declaration for Burnet County on Saturday, Feb. 13
“The issuance of a disaster declaration allows the county to tap into additional state and federal resources throughout the duration of the disaster, provides for the ability to make emergency purchases related to the disaster, and potentially opens up opportunities for affected citizens to benefit from other state and federal resources and reimbursement arising from damage from the disaster,” according to the media release.
The county judge’s office is working alongside the county Office of Emergency Management, Central Texas Electric Cooperative, the Lower Colorado River Authority, and Texas Department of Emergency Management in response to the winter storm.
While the Electric Reliability Council of Texas directed electric providers to reduce load due to the heavy demand, which included implementing “rolling outages,” many people are experiencing power outages much longer than “temporary interruptions.”
Central Texas Electric Cooperative crews have been responding to a number of damaged poles and equipment across its service area for the past several days. Many poles and lines were down or damaged due to ice buildup.
CTEC reported a distribution line was down in the Inks Lake area on Sunday, which affected the Inks Lake and Buchanan Dam areas. The cooperative also reported substation issues in the Llano, Bluffton, and Cherokee areas Monday morning. CTEC was able to replace some transformers but would need to install a mobile transformer in the Bluffton substation.
Along with addressing weather-related repairs, CTEC staff and crews were also battling the elements themselves, going out in sub-freezing temperatures and dealing with treacherous roads. CTEC has also brought in additional contractor crews to assist with repairs.
“As linemen work long days, we stress safety and making sure they stay focused on the task at hand,” CTEC officials stated on a Feb. 15 Facebook post at about 7 p.m. Officials noted that the count for replacement poles was rising as of Monday as crews continued to assess damage across the CTEC service area, which includes part of Llano County.
Officials expect the ERCOT-implemented rolling blackouts to continue through at least Tuesday, Feb. 16.
In response to the extended power outages, Llano County officials announced that First Baptist Church of Llano, 107 W. Luce, was open as a warming station. Due to limited power available in the eastern portion of the county, officials couldn’t open any such locations there at this time.
Marble Falls Middle School, 1511 Colt Circle, also opened as a warming center as of Monday evening.