Opinion: State Sen. Donna Campbell Says She’s Working Hard to Get Answers on Freeze
by Donna Campbell, M.D.
Republican Texas State Senator for District 25 (Canyon Lake)
I know you are frustrated, cold, concerned, and have never been more ready for warmer Texas weather.
In-between power outages, my staff and I have been working extremely hard behind the scenes to get you much needed answers.
One thing is for certain, the legislature must address this issue with ERCOT as soon as possible to ensure that Texans never have to weather the storm of extreme power outages again. A huge thank you to our first responders, as well as everyone who has been putting their own safety at risk to restore power and protect Texans.
I have been in close contact with the Public Utility Commission of Texas and the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) and here is what I know so far:
- The National Guard has been deployed to conduct welfare checks and to assist local authorities to help those in need.
- This freeze is once in-a-generation. Demand for power continues to exceed supply, which is why we are experiencing statewide power outages. ERCOT is requiring power outages to ensure that we do not have a statewide blackout.
- Why do certain areas still have power, but I don’t? Because they are on a part of the grid with critical facilities (hospitals, certain governmental entities, clinics, nursing homes, etc.)
- Some power has been restored, but outages are likely to continue throughout the day.
- I do not know when everyone’s power will be restored. (I know this is NOT what everyone wants to hear, but I am working with all local officials to get electricity back on in your homes.)
- The Governor has called on the legislature to investigate ERCOT and ensure Texans never again experience power outages on the scale they have seen over the past several days.
- The legislature will address this issue as an emergency item this session.
ERCOT and Public Utility Commission Information
- Peak demand forecast, current load, and available generation at www.ercot.com
- Sign up for the ERCOT Mobile App
- Subscribe to the Emergency Alerts list on www.lists.ercot.com
- ERCOT Twitter (@ERCOT_ISO) and Facebook (Electric Reliability Council of Texas)
- Public Utility Commission of Texas Hotline: 1-888-782-8477
Warming Centers and Food
- Texans can find more details about community resources and warming centers in their area by calling 877-541-7905 or 211, the state’s free 24-hour helpline.
- Information about specific local resources, assistance and guidance can also likely be found on local city government websites and social media accounts.
- For the cities and counties not listed below, please visit https:tdem.texas.gov/warm/ to find a Warming Center near you.
- If you are in need of food in coming days you are encouraged to dial 2-1-1 or visit 211texas.org to get in touch with Texas Health and Human Services. The service should be able to connect those in need with a wide range of services, including food, shelter and mental health services.
- Travis County:
– Palmer Events Center, 900 Barton Springs Road: Austin called this its “primary” warming center. Single adults in need of shelter should report to this warming center. When Capital Metro resumes service, you can use bus routes 1, 7, 10, 20, 801, 30 to access. Rides are free for those looking for shelter.
– Downtown Salvation Army Shelter, 501 E. 8th Street: Families should report here. Use Capital Metro bus routes 2, 4, 6, 7, and 10.
– Mendez Middle School, 5106 Village Square Dr.: There is limited capacity and this is intended for intended for Austin’s most vulnerable populations, especially those who have medical devices that need power to operate.
– Northeast Early College High School, 7104 Berkman Dr.: There is limited capacity and this is intended for intended for Austin’s most vulnerable populations, especially those who have medical devices that need power to operate.
- Hays County:
– Southside Community Center (518 S Guadalupe Street, San Marcos): (512) 557-0795
– Salvation Army (300 S CM Allen Parkway, Suite 100, San Marcos): (512) 938-2596
– Hays Hills Baptist Church (1401 N Farm to Market 1626, Buda): (512) 295-3132 or (512) 845-3864
– Dripping Spring United Methodist (28900 RR 12, Dripping Springs): (512) 894-7123
– Kyle United Methodist Church (408 W Lockhart St. Kyle): (512) 415-6708
– Westover Baptist Church (1310 Advance St., San Marcos): (512) 214-2258
– First Baptist Church of Wimberley (15951 Winters Mill Pkwy, Wimberley): (432) 634-2364
- San Antonio Area:
Emergency shelters: These locations will be practicing social distancing, requiring masks and limiting numbers.
– San Antonio Convention Center will be used as a warming center this evening for families that have been without power for more than 24 hours. Residents who need transport can call 311 and VIA buses will transport them to the convention center between 4:30 and 7pm. Parking is available for those who drive themselves.
– Haven for Hope is open to ANYONE seeking shelter from the cold that will be willing to shelter in place and follow CDC guidelines of social distancing and mask wearing.
– Salvation Army Dave Coy Men’s Shelter: 226 Nolan Street Nightly shelter enrollment begins at 3 p.m. daily through 8 p.m. meals provided too first come first serve. Individuals must be 18 years or older and provide a picture ID at the time of enrollment.
– Corazon Ministries at Travis Park Church: 230 E. Travis 10-12 people starting February 11th thru possibly Tuesday or Wednesday or when below freezing stops.
– Last Chance Ministries: 404 Brady Blvd, San Antonio, TX 78207. They can take approximately 75 men and women (no children). Doors will open at 8 p.m. Point of contact is Pastor Janie (210) 873-0660
– Roy Maas Youth: 3103 West Ave. Alternatives Centro Seguro Drop-in Center for youth ages 24 and younger remains open 24
Additional Important Information
- The roads are icy and dangerous. Do not turn on your gas generators, stoves, or cars indoors (including your garage.)
- Conserve power on your mobile phone in case of emergency.
- If you have medication that requires refrigeration, please check with your pharmacist for instructions on alternative storage.