SAN ANTONIO — More than 2500 customers were without power in Boerne Thursday morning. Normally, the outages would be due to local equipment failures and, most often, power lines collapsing due to tree limbs or ice.
On Thursday, however, the Bandera Electric Cooperative lost power to an entire substation, and to 2000 customers, because the high voltage transmission line going to the station stopped providing power. It was also something the utility had no control over.
"The LCRA was experiencing issues on their transmission line that serves the Manger Creek substation. That serves residents who purchase their electricity from the city as well as Bandera Electric Cooperative members," Bandera Electric Spokesman John Padalino said.
The LCRA, or Lower Colorado River Authority, is a transmission service provider in charge of the high voltage transmission lines going to multiple utility substations in communities north of San Antonio. A map of the areas they serve can be found here.
The LCRA transmission line going to the Manger Creek Substation was shut down around 8:45 a.m. according to Padalino, and the power was restored around four hours later.
Bandera Electric Cooperative was not the only utility having an issue with a LCRA line. New Braunfels Utilities, which serves the City of New Braunfels, had more than 4000 customers without power between 7 p.m. Wednesday and 7 a.m. Thursday Morning. Again it was something the utility could not control.
"This situation occurred due to the failure of multiple Lower Colorado River Authority’s owned static wires on their transmission system. A static wire is the wire that sits at the top of the pole and helps dispel power surges that occur during storms, reducing electrical damage," said utility spokeswoman Melissa Krause via email.
The transmission line issues also extended to San Antonio and CPS energy. While the LCRA does not serve the City of San Antonio, according to its map, CPS energy did report some issues related to the LCRA:
At peak of the storm, 45,000 customers experienced an outage. Currently, one of the largest outages, that impacted more than 7,000 customers in the Fair Oaks Ranch area, is due to an issue associated with neighboring utility, the Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA). LCRA’s transmission lines are damaged and impacting a CPS Energy substation serving customers in the area. CPS Energy was able to connect some customers to other circuits but still has more than 2,000 customers without power at this time. Upon completion of LCRA’s repairs, CPS Energy crews can restore power to the remaining customers," a press release stated.
LCRA transmission lines also serve the Pedernales Electric Cooperative (PEC) which, in turn, provided electricity to thousands of customers in South and central Texas. The PEC outage map reported more than 4000 outages in Texas as of 6:15 p.m., though the utility would not disclose exactly how many outages were related to the LCRA's transmission lines.
KENS 5 reached out to the LCRA Thursday and asked what timeline was in place for restoring power to some of these utility customers. The LCRA declined an interview and provided the following statement:
"Ice on transmission facilities has caused outages at multiple substations throughout the region, including the areas you asked about. Crews are working around the clock to restore power as quickly and safely as possible. These issues are due to ice on transmission and distribution lines and are not related to the health of the Texas power grid," the statement said.