After the winter storm in February 2021, the City of Georgetown conducted an assessment and took steps to reduce cold-weather risks in the future. Below are some of the key measures the water and electric utilities have taken to winterize equipment. In addition, the City is implementing a new texting platform to increase notifications to customers about electric or water outages.
Water utility: Steps to winterize the water system include:
- Replacing heaters, purchasing additional heaters, and adding insulation to field equipment such as water pumps
- Contracting for three large portable generators to operate stations that were most affected by the freeze
- Designing permanent generator backups for existing and new water treatment plants
- Purchasing cold-weather fuel additives for generators
- Ensuring that water and wastewater equipment powered by non-City electric providers are on their Critical Customer List
- Joining the statewide TXWarn mutual aid agreement to expand mutual aid assistance beyond local partners
Electric utility: While most of the outages in the February storm were the result of mandated load reductions from ERCOT, the City has taken steps to reduce the chance of outages on the Georgetown electric system. These include:
- Changing energy portfolio management practices to better protect the utility financially from events like the winter storm
- Continuing focus on tree trimming near primary power lines
- Enhancing preventive maintenance and inspection programs
- Conducting emergency preparedness exercises
- Incorporating resiliency into infrastructure planning and installation
Critical load non-residential customers such as hospitals or emergency response facilities as well as critical care residential customers can visit gus.georgetown.org/electric/chronic-condition-critical-care-critical-load-information to submit an application. In a situation with state-mandated rotating outages, the electric utility will work to reduce outages to critical load customers like hospitals. However, the utility does not have a way to protect individual residential customers from such outages. For this reason, critical care residential customers who cannot be without power should acquire battery or generator back-up for their residences.
Georgetown utility customers should make sure their contact information is up-to-date, so we can reach you with important information: https://bit.ly/3yMBkB6. Look for details later this month about a new text notification platform to alert utility customers about outages or other important service changes.